4,031 Israelis who are under mandatory home quarantine due to suspected exposure to coronavirus voted today in 13 designated quarantine voting booths around the country. The booths, located in Jerusalem, Tzfat, Afula, Haifa, north and south Tel Aviv, Holon, Be'er Sheva, Ashkelon, Modi'in, Kfar Saba and Eilat, were staffed by Magen David Adom workers wearing protective gear and following special hygiene protocol.

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Special quarantine voting booth (Photograph: Daphna Eisbruch)

About 5,600 Israelis are currently under mandatory home quarantine. The Health Ministry requires Israelis who have returned from China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Singapore, Japan or Italy, and people who came into contact with one of the twelve confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Israel, to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Betty Sagir, who is under quarantine, told Davar, "We were instructed to put on face masks and gloves and drive straight to the voting booth. The voting booth workers are protected and we signed our voting packets using antibacterial wash, gloves, masks, and a disposable pen. For me, this is also a chance to get out of the house. I wouldn't think of giving up my right to vote."

Quarantine voting booth in Kfar Saba for the election of the 23rd Israeli Knesset (Photograph: Betty Sagir)

While Minister of Health Yaakov Litzman called on Israeli citizens to fulfill their democratic obligation to vote, the coronavirus had an impact on voting day. Some voters reported long lines and up to six hours of waiting times at the designated quarantine booths. Various false rumors of coronavirus at non-quarantine polls, perhaps designed to depress voter turnout, raced across social media. And the religious Shas party was accused of distributing protective amulets to ward off the virus, despite Israeli law banning blessings or curses in political campaigns.