The Israel Police force vowed Wednesday to "far less lenient" in enforcing new tightened coronavirus restrictions, which will go into effect on midnight Thursday, with the deployment of some 5,000 police officers and roadblocks all across Israel.
The tightened restrictions are expected to last for at least two weeks, after Israel’s third lockdown imposed last month failed to effectively stem the surge of new cases.
During a briefing Wednesday, the head of the Israel Police operations unit, Commander Yishai Shalom, said that the police will deploy dozens of checkpoints on interurban roads in order to effectively enforce the prohibition on travel.
During the tightened closure all educational institutions will remain closed except for special education; gatherings will be permitted for up to five people in indoor spaces and up to 10 people outdoors, only essential jobs will be permitted to continue, all professional sports activities will be canceled, the public will be restricted from traveling more than one kilometer from their homes and banned from entering residences in which they do not live.
Shalom said that between 7am and 7pm approximately 15 checkpoints will be deployed throughout the country, while 25 will be in operation between 7pm and 11pm, and 12 between 11pm and 7am each day.
"We will take action against those who are a significant distance from their homes," Shalom said.
"Those who think that the police fail to enforce [the restrictions] are completely wrong… This time we will be far less lenient," Shalom said.
He said that officers would try to enforce the law in ultra-Orthodox localities, which often suffer from the highest infection rates due to the community's reluctance to adhere to restrictions.
But, he added, “you will not see police officers inside schools or synagogues.”
Shalom’s remarks came after acting Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai removed several officers from their posts after they were caught turning a blind eye to an illegal wedding with thousands of guests in the religious West Bank settlement of Beitar Illit.
In preparation for the closure, Defense Minister Benny Gantz ordered an increase in the deployment of police in cities, clinics and hospitals.
The defense establishment will also prepare to limit the entry of Palestinian laborers from the West Bank, except for those working in essential industries.