Hana Levi Julian
As the State of Israel begins to tiptoe its way towards reopening at least some of the less “at risk” sectors of society with an eye to getting everyone back to work as quickly as possible, government officials are discussing strategies for ‘The Return’ with counterparts around the world.
According to a report by Hebrew-language journalist Amichai Stein at Israel’s Kan public broadcasting network Wednesday evening, Israel is watching Austria as a possible model for the best exit strategy.
The nation of Austria, first to see the need to order its citizens into a lockdown, has also become one of the first to attempt a cautious exit from that status.
Israel has been studying Austria’s approach, which includes allowing small shops, hardware and gardening shops to reopen along with other independent business establishments.
Small business owners in Israel have also already received a green light – as long as their stores are not located in malls or open air markets. Larger stores come next, and then restaurants.
In Austria, if the rate of new infections continues to drop and the virus continues to remain “under control” the government announced that all the rest of the shops will be allowed to reopen on May 2. Restaurants will join the party sometime in mid-May.
It’s not yet clear when Israel will extend the same privilege to restaurants in the Jewish State.
Meanwhile, the Israeli Cabinet met by conference call Wednesday and approved emergency regulations on going out into the public sphere on the holidays of Remembrance (Memorial) Day, Independence Day, and the Islamic month-long holiday of Ramadan, again intended to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Israelis will face curfews for most of the time, in which they will once more be restricted to their homes and not allowed to go to the stores even to purchase food during the holidays.
Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.