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Israeli restaurants vs. PM Netanyahu: 1-0

Celebrity chefs are championing the fight against the government’s decision to close down restaurants over the coronavirus pandemic.
Mask-clad Israeli restaurant owners and clients protest against new lockdown measures imposed by the authorities due to a surge in coronavirus cases,  by banging ice buckets, in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv, on July 17, 2020. - Israel's government said today it was imposing new restrictions to limit the spiralling spread of coronavirus in the hope of avoiding a general lockdown further along the line. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP) (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

It all began on the afternoon of July 17. A group of Israel’s leading chefs forced the government to overturn a decision it had made just a few hours earlier to close all restaurants in an effort to respond to a spike in the spread of the coronavirus.

The original decision was infuriating to these restauranteurs. Their refrigerators were filled with expensive foodstuffs, purchased in preparation for the weekend. With the realization that the food would now go to waste was one step too far for a sector that suffered one of the worst blows since the coronavirus pandemic started in March. For months, these restaurants, bars and cafes were forced to shutter their doors without any adequate compensation for their losses. Many of these businesses shut down entirely. Others are now teetering on bankruptcy. Even the country’s finest chefs are trapped in the uncertainty of this miserable new reality.

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