Health Ministry Urges Israelis to Go Out and Vote

A special polling station for voters quarantined due to possible exposure to the coronavirus, in Tel Aviv on Sunday. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

The Israeli Health Ministry, which has been criticized in some quarters for overreacting to coronavirus, sought to reassure the public on Sunday that the precautions are working and it’s safe to go out and vote.

Moshe Bar Siman-Tov, director-general of the Ministry, said not to worry. “The situation is under control. Everyone who was infected with the coronavirus, we know where they were infected and this is important that it’s safe to go vote. Don’t hesitate… go vote,” he said in a video statement.

Some 5,630 people are currently under home quarantine, but 16 special polling stations to be run by Magen David Adom will be provided for them.

However, Siman-Tov stipulated that “a person who has signs of illness may not vote, not even at the designated voting stations,” only those who might have been exposed but are not showing symptoms.

Meanwhile, the epidemic has been sucked into the national election frenzy. The Blue and White party asked the Central Elections Committee to order broadcasters to carry Prime Minister Netanyahu’s planned press conference on the coronavirus on a 10-minute delay fearing the “high probability” that it will be contain political messages. The delay will give the authorities time to examine and censor the remarks, if necessary. According to Israel’s election laws, news channels cannot broadcast direct election campaigning by candidates in the 60 days before elections.

candidates in the 60 days before elections.

The Israel Police said on Sunday it will be operating a “war room” on election day to respond to the spread of false information that could affect voting.

A police spokeswoman said officers are ready to handle “rumors and disinformation” that could influence the voting process, particularly related to coronavirus reports, The Times of Israel said.

Updated Sunday, March 1, 2020 at 2:25 pm add info