Hundreds of people arrived at the Post Office in the southern city of Be’er Sheva this week to collect a NIS 500 child benefit payment, causing a long line that clearly breached the Health Ministry’s instructions on social distancing in public spaces.
Some residents complained about the large gathering crowd, saying it was clearly a health risk and a violation of health regulations.
“I came to the Post Office and saw it was really crowded,” said one resident. “It’s dangerous to stand in line during these times. Many tried to keep their distance, but there were some who scoffed when they were asked to move away. We can’t even have the Post Office open without bouncers.”
Due to many residents of Rahat arriving at the Post Office to collect their child benefits, the mayor of the Arab city, Faiz Abu Sahiban, intervened in an effort to stem the health risk.
“On Monday morning I received a complaint from the mayor of Rahat about the dangerous overcrowding at the Post Office,” said Jafar Farah, the founder of the Mossawa Center, which works to promote the social, economic, cultural, and political rights of Israel's Arab minority.
“We demanded it be dealt with immediately and a police car arrived shortly after to ask attendees to keep a distance of two meters," he said.
A similar event was reported Sunday at one of East Jerusalem’s post offices, soon after, a police unit arrived at the scene and handed out NIS 500 fines to violators.
In the Arab communities, the number of people infected with the coronavirus continues to rise, with a 90-year-old resident of Tamra being the first fatality from the sector to the succumb to the virus.
In Rahat, the number of patients is 19, in Umm al-Fahm 49, in Daburia 27, in Nazareth 11 and in East Jerusalem approximately 50 people have been confirmed to be infected.
The heads of the authorities, alongside many doctors and leaders in Arab society, have urged the public to stay at home, and heed the instructions.
"The number of coronavirus patients among us is rising due to people’s disregard for regulations,” said Rahat’s mayor. “I appeal to all of you once again, you have to stay in your homes, and refrain from going out unless it is for essentials, otherwise we are headed for disaster.”