An Israeli cabinet minister has resigned in protest against plans to impose a second national lockdown. Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman said the restrictions would prevent Jewish people from celebrating religious festivals later this month. The lockdown is due to come into force on Friday, the Jewish new year, and affect Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, on 27 September. Mr. Litzman also threatened to pull his party out of the governing alliance. The measures will be the most extensive imposed in Israel since the country’s first lockdown, which ran from late March until early May. Mr. Litzman, who leads an ultra-Orthodox Jewish party, said in his resignation letter: “This wrongs and scorns hundreds of thousands of citizens.”Where were you until now? Why have Jewish holidays become a convenient address for tackling the coronavirus?”.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has faced criticism for his handling of the outbreak. Critics say his failure to tackle the virus effectively has led to another national lockdown. Israel, which has a population of about nine million, has reported more than 3,000 new cases a day in recent weeks. Many nations are experiencing second surges of the virus. However, most governments are now imposing smaller local lockdowns in affected areas, rather than blanket national ones.