Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday night declared a strict lockdown for the night of the Passover seder, including a curfew on Wednesday night from 6 p.m. until Thursday morning at 7 a.m., during which Israelis will be barred from leaving their homes. The prime minister urged Israelis to celebrate the holiday “only with the immediate family members who are now with you at home.”

“I know that this is very onerous but there is simply no choice. We will strictly enforce the lockdown,” he said, announcing the new restrictions aimed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“We are in a fateful week, for the world and for the State of Israel,” continued the prime minister. “It is fateful because in the battle to block the coronavirus, these days will determine the direction—progress or retreat, and for many people, life or death.”

Netanyahu also announced a general lockdown from 4 p.m. on Tuesday until 7 a.m. on Friday, during which inter-city movement, as well as movement between “certain neighborhoods in Jerusalem,” will be restricted.

Finally, he spoke of a gradual easing of restrictions on the horizon.

“There is a real possibility that if the positive trends in Israel continue, we will gradually exit the lockdown after Passover,” he said, noting that the most at-risk populations will need to keep the quarantine as much as possible.

“In every generation, we have overcome challenges, and it seems that in the past 100 years, we have not seen a challenge such as this. But I know that even though this is a global challenge being experienced by all humanity, I know that we are getting through it together, and that we are getting through it successfully,” he continued. “Together, we are writing a hard chapter, but it is a great chapter in the history of our people and state.”

Wishing a happy and kosher Passover to the citizens of Israel, Netanyahu blessed everyone that “we should get through this trouble together and emerge from quarantine to freedom.”

© 2020 American Jewish Congress.