One in 73 Charedi Jews in Israel over the age of 65 has died of COVID in the past year — more than four times the number in the same cohort of the general population — according to a new report.
The report by Shomrim, an Israeli investigative journalism nonprofit organisation, found that 1.3% of Charedim over 65 had died of COVID, compared to 0.27%, or 1 in 373, in that group of the general population.
The numbers reported by the nonprofit are slightly higher than those of the Israeli Ministry of Health, which found that 1.2% of the Charedi population over 65 had died of COVID. In December, the Israel Hayom newspaper reported that 1 in 132 Charedim over 65 had died of COVID based on data from the Health Ministry.
Shomrim attributed the disparity to the ministry’s decision not to count deaths in cities with mixed populations of Charedim and non-Charedim toward the Charedi total, which Shomrim did.
Shomrim also cited a study by Eran Segal of the Weizmann Institute of Science finding that 1 in 100 Charedi Israelis over 65 died of COVID, compared to 1 in 350 in the general Jewish population.
Regardless of the disparity between the numbers used by Shomrim and the Health Ministry, the death rate among Israel’s Charedi Jews makes clear the degree to which the community has been impacted by the coronavirus, even as large parts of the community continue to go about their lives as usual and refuse to wear masks or socially distance.
The deaths of the community’s elders has apparently not changed that behaviour. After two major Charedi leaders died of COVID within hours of each other in Jerusalem earlier this month, thousands still attended their crowded funerals, with few wearing masks.
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