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PM urges Israelis to trade handshakes for namaste gesture to counter Covid-19

Benjamin Netanyahu suggested that the Indian gesture was a healthier alternative.

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Donald Trump shakes hands with Theresa May and the Duchess of Cornwall performs a Namaste gesture (Jack Taylor/Anthony Devlin/PA)

Donald Trump shakes hands with Theresa May and the Duchess of Cornwall performs a Namaste gesture (Jack Taylor/Anthony Devlin/PA)

Donald Trump shakes hands with Theresa May and the Duchess of Cornwall performs a Namaste gesture (Jack Taylor/Anthony Devlin/PA)

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has urged Israelis to stop shaking hands in light of growing concerns over Covid-19 and suggests instead they adopt the Indian greeting of “namaste” instead.

At a press conference Wednesday announcing new steps to deal with the virus, Mr Netanyahu pressed his hands together in a prayer position and bowed when he made his suggestion, stressing the need for personal hygiene.

He also added additional European countries to a list of destinations from which returning Israelis would need to self-quarantine for two weeks.

Israel Politics
Benjamin Netanyahu makes a namaste gesture (Sebastian Scheiner/AP)

Meanwhile, Israel’s chief rabbi is urging observant Jews to refrain from kissing “mezuzot”, a small item encasing a prayer scroll posted by Jews on doorposts.

Observant Jews typically touch the item and then kiss their hands when walking through a doorway.

Chief Rabbi David Lau made the call in a letter on Wednesday.

PA