While the outgoing Israeli head of the World Medical Association, Dr. Leonid Edelman, claims that a general closure would be seen as an admission of failure by the Israeli government, other senior physicians, such as the head of the New England Complex Systems Institute, Dr. Yaneer Bar-Yam, are certain a total lockdown is the country's only remaining way of combating the spread of the coronavirus.
According to Bar-Yam, an expert in the analysis of pandemics, a government-mandated national closure is sure to halt the increasing spread of COVID-19 across Israel.
"I don't understand why they don't just view the quarantine in that manner," Bar-Yam told Ynet this week.
"The contagion is now spreading quickly. If you impose only a partial lockdown, or delay a full lockdown, you only slow down its spread, it won't go anywhere. Only a severe general lockdown will see the virus completely gone."
Bar-Yam said that closure is not unique to Israel, as many countries successfully employed such a measure during their own fight against the contagion.
"There are 50 countries around the world, including New Zealand, that have reached almost zero new infections thanks to closure," Bar-Yam said.
"If after the closure there are small outbreaks in certain places, they can be dealt with, but not introducing a closure is akin to playing with fire."
The closure imposed during the first wave of coronavirus infection led to Israel seeing just a handful of new patients each day, he said.
"There was a situation here of 10 new cases of infection per day or even less. If they had [delayed reopening] for a few more days, there would have been no more new cases," he said. "When there is a closure, people are not infecting one another."
The number of new daily coronavirus cases in Israel on Thursday surpassed the 2,000 mark for a second day in a row, health officials said.
Health Minister Yuli Edelstein earlier this month cited 2,000 new daily coronavirus cases as a form of "red line" – a defined threshold that he said "could lead to a general closure."
The government's Coronavirus National Knowledge and Information Center said that at least 2,032 people tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, putting the contagion rate at a worrying 8.3%.
The Health Ministry also corrected Tuesday's tally of new virus patients from 1,975 to 2,002, meaning the country passed the benchmark on two consecutive days.
Israeli lawmakers on Thursday empowered the government to order anti-coronavirus measures with limited parliamentary oversight, and the ball is now in the government's court.