At least 40 locations across Israel were placed under night-time curfew at 7pm on Tuesday, in a new measure that seeks to stem the spread of the coronavirus in areas with high infection rates.
The curfew will be in place between 7pm and 5am for a period of one week and was introduced after Haredi politicians pressured Netanyahu into rejecting a comprehensive plan for stemming the pandemic devised by coronavirus czar Prof. Ronni Gamzu.
The ultra-Orthodox leaders rejected the plan on the grounds that it discriminated against their communities, as it called for a full lockdown in areas with high infection rates.
The areas hardest hit by the virus include many Arab sector communities as well as cities and neighborhoods with a predominately ultra-Orthodox population.
Netanyahu visited Beit Shemesh on Tuesday evening, shortly before parts of the city were due to be placed under curfew.
Most of the central city falls into the "orange" classification in a system based on the colors of a traffic light, although several neighborhoods have been deemed as "red" zones due to a high infection rate.
Netanyahu again lashed out at opposition leaders, branding them "irresponsible" for what he said was a call to ignore the regulations issued by the Health Ministry to counter the virus.
"They are driving anarchy, infection and the death of people," Netanyahu said Tuesday.
The prime minister was making an apparent reference to Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman, who on Monday advised Israelis to use their common sense during the pandemic as the government decision making process was compromised.
"We must observe the directives of the Health Ministry, this is crucial for success," he said.
The visit came just hours after ministers finally approved a list of 40 cities, communities and neighborhoods to be placed under curfew due to their contagion rates.
Acting Israel Police commissioner Moti Cohen said Tuesday afternoon that officers are preparing to enforce the curfew.
"Israel Police is ready to implement the political echelon's decision and enforce and supervise actions of nighttime curfew imposed on significant virus hotspots throughout the country," said Cohen.
"The increased police presence that will begin tonight comes after a particularly long and intense period, in which Israeli police officers work around the clock to enforce regulations and maintain public health alongside other tasks."