Influential Israeli rabbi tests positive for coronavirus

Tel Aviv  – An influential Israeli rabbi who previously warned against coronavirus testing has tested positive himself, his family announced on Friday.

Rabbi Kanievsky was doing well and was continuing his religious studies, local media reported, citing the family.

President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wished the rabbi a speedy recovery via Twitter.

Kanievsky, who belongs to the Orthodox Jewish community, had warned Jewish religious students against taking the coronavirus test because, according to him quarantine jeopardises religious study.

Daily newspaper Haaretz reported that the rabbi, however, urged people to wear masks and pray outdoors during the Jewish holiday Sukkot, also called the Feast of Tabernacles, which starts later on Friday.

Israel is in the midst of a second wave of the pandemic and has imposed a lockdown with strict rules on gatherings and social distance.

Many infections have been reported among the Orthodox community, where large families often live together in small spaces.

Many Orthodox Jews prefer following their religious leadership instead of the government.

Rivlin and leading rabbi Shalom Cohen made a joint statement on Thursday evening, calling for responsible behaviour.

According to the Health Ministry, Israel recorded 7,643 new coronavirus infections on Friday. (dpa/NAN)

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