Health Official Says Opening Ikea Was Mistake


The order allowing the Ikea furniture chain to reopen last week was a mistake, Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar Siman Tov told Kan News on Sunday morning.

The decision, which left many other businesses closed, was the target of a protest by storekeepers at Yerushalayim’s Machaneh Yehudah market and others, who insisted they should be allowed to reopen too.

Siman Tov told Army Radio that the government is working hard to correct mistakes, and “for now, the entire market can open, all stores can open,” he said, though large malls remained an exception.

“We have two main subjects that we are working on right now,” he continued. “The first is the education system, of course. There will be intense discussions throughout this week to try and find the model through which we may return the education system. The second is malls.”

Defending the Health Ministry’s performance in the crisis, which has come under much criticism, he said:

“At the end, you need to look at the results.” He pointed out that Israel has been seeing a fraction of the deaths that countries such as Belgium and New York have been seeing.

“These are numbers that you cannot deny,” he said, adding that the goal is to “lower the curve,” and repeating the warning of some experts that Israel must be prepared for a resurgence of the coronavirus next winter.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, police arrested six people at the still-closed Machaneh Yehudah market, charging them with suspicion of interfering with the police in the execution of their duties, and disobeying police orders, Arutz Sheva reported.

Stallholders in the market are reportedly incensed at what they believe is discriminatory treatment, allowing some businesses to open, such as Ikea and others, while keeping theirs closed.

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