Israeli Health Minister Yaakov Litzman said Monday that residents of haredi-dominated localities are being treated in a “discriminatory and degrading” manner as the coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread quickly in ultra-Orthodox communities, Ynet reported.

Litzman, who was recently diagnosed with COVID-19 himself, made his remarks after the city of Ramat Gan put up barricades along its border with the haredi city of Bnei Brak, which has a high infection rate and is under a government lockdown.

“I urge the mayor of Ramat Gan to avoid meddling and creating friction between the populations [of the two neighboring cities]. The residents of Bnei Brak and the entire ultra-Orthodox population should not be discriminated against,” said Litzman.

Bnei Brak city workers have begun taking down the fence.

Bnei Brak Mayor Rabbi Avraham Rubinstein said, according to the report, “The coronavirus epidemic will eventually pass, but the inhumane conduct of Ramat Gan Mayor Carmel Shama-Hacohen will be remembered in infamy.”

The interior ministry has ordered that the fence be taken down.

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