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Coronavirus

Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi Has Tested Positive for the Coronavirus

JERUSALEM — Israeli media are reporting that a leading ultra-Orthodox rabbi has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, 92, had initially opposed the closure of religious seminaries last spring, saying “the Torah protects and saves,” but began advocating for social distancing, mask-wearing and other measures as the full scale of the outbreak became clear.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wished the rabbi a quick recovery in a message posted on Twitter.

Israel’s insular ultra-Orthodox community has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, as many have flouted restrictions on public prayers and other religious gatherings.

The country, with a population of just 9 million, is currently dealing with one of the worst outbreaks in the world on a per capita basis. A new lockdown was imposed last month and tightened amid the Jewish High Holidays, which run until mid-October.

Israel has reported more than 250,000 cases and more than 1,600 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

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