On Sunday, the Israeli cabinet approved a three-week lockdown in the entire country beginning on Friday at 2 P.M., the eve of the Rosh Hashanah holiday, to address the spike in coronavirus cases. The lockdown is currently due to last until Sunday, October 11, a day after Simhat Torah. The most pervasive restriction will be a ban on traveling more than 500 meters (about 1,600 feet) from home – subject to exceptions noted below. Places of employment will face restrictions and retail stores and places of entertainment will be closed, although not retailers selling essentials such as food and medicine. Despite the three-week lockdown slated to begin Friday, dozens of worshippers will be allowed to pray together indoors during the upcoming Jewish holidays, according to a plan released Sunday night by the Prime Minister’s Office and the Health Ministry.
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The plan also permits separate groups of up to 20 people to worship together outdoors. It will apply to all the Jewish holidays during the next three weeks, starting with Rosh Hashanah, which begins Friday evening. Under this plan, stricter criteria apply to synagogues in locations with the highest rate of coronavirus infection, the so-called “red” zones, where group prayer will be limited to separate groups of no more than 10 people.