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Israel’s second lockdown carries a hefty economic price

Israel’s second lockdown carries a hefty economic price

JERUSALEM/TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Restaurateur Tamir Barelko has had enough.

A youth wearing a protective face mask sits on a pavement near shuttered shops amid Israel’s second national coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown in Ashkelon, Israel October 7, 2020. Picture taken October 7, 2020. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Israel’s decision last month to impose a second nationwide lockdown after a resurgence in coronavirus infections has dealt a hammer blow to the economy and the livelihoods of small business owners, Barelko says.

He launched a petition calling for small businesses to defy the lockdown and reopen from Sunday, the end of the Jewish holiday season, and has attracted more than 60,000 supporters for his campaign on Facebook FB.O over the past two weeks.

The finance ministry and central bank support reopening offices of companies that can avoid face-to-face contact with customers, or employ less than 10 workers – highlighting growing tensions over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s handling of the pandemic, which is set to see Israel’s economy shrink this year for the first time in nearly two decades.

“The economy is breaking down, people’s hope is breaking down,” said Barelko, speaking in the Tel Aviv restaurant he runs, now empty of customers. “If the government does not give us the opportunity to live and to provide for our families, we’ll do it ourselves.”

Thousands of people have taken to the streets across Israel for almost daily protests that have built up since July, demanding Netanyahu resign over his handling of the crisis and over corruption charges he faces in court, which he denies.

The country, with a population of nine million, has reported nearly 280,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 1,800 deaths.

Schools and most offices, shops and restaurants are closed, unless they provide “vital services” such as supermarkets, pharmacies and banks, and people

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Trump threatens China with big price ‘for what they’ve done to the world’

Trump threatens China with big price ‘for what they’ve done to the world’

United States President Donald Trump has again hit out at China over the coronavirus, promising Beijing will “pay a big price for what they’ve done to the world.”



a man wearing a suit and tie: WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 05: U.S. President Donald Trump salutes Marine One helicopter pilots after returning to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on October 05, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump spent three days hospitalized for coronavirus. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)


© Win McNamee/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 05: U.S. President Donald Trump salutes Marine One helicopter pilots after returning to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on October 05, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump spent three days hospitalized for coronavirus. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

“It wasn’t your fault that this happened, it was China’s fault,” Trump said in a video from the White House Wednesday, in which he touted his own recovery from the virus that has infected multiple top administration officials, and touted a supposed cure. “China’s going to pay a big price what they’ve done to this country.”

While Beijing will have been expecting this type of rhetoric following Trump’s infection, his aggressive language — reminiscent of similar threats made toward Iran earlier in his presidency — comes at a seriously volatile time between the US and China, both diplomatically and militarily.

China has been advancing its territorial claims in the South China Sea, the Himalayas, and over the self-ruled island of Taiwan, all areas where the US is already engaged militarily or could easily be dragged in by any conflict. In recent weeks, the People’s Liberation Army has released a flurry of videos touting its ability to take on the US, while state media has run propaganda warning Washington not to test Beijing, and playing up the 70th anniversary of China’s entry into the Korean War, known in Chinese as the “War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea.”

Trump’s promises to make China “pay” is more likely a reference to pushing Beijing on trade, a key focus of

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