As New Cases Continue to Spiral, Israel’s Public Health Chief Resigns

Health Ministry General Manager Professor Chezi Levy attends a press conference about the coronavirus, at the Health Ministry in Yerushalayim on Monday. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Professor Siegal Sadetzki, the head of Public Health Services in the Health Ministry, announced her plans to resign from her position on Tuesday morning.

The Health Ministry announced Tuesday that 1,057 people were diagnosed with coronavirus over the past day. The country’s death toll rose to 338.

In a lengthy online post, Sadetzki shared a letter she penned to new Health Ministry Director General Chezi Levy on Monday, in which she declared her plans to step down, and explained her reasons for her resignation.

“In recent weeks, Israel is moving toward a dangerous place. The data and current morbidity map and future projections testify to this like a thousand witnesses.”

In her post, Sadetzki claims that Israel squandered its success with the first wave of the pandemic by allowing social activities too soon. She added that the response to the initial outbreak was characterized by professional and ethical leadership, which has changed since the beginning of the second wave, with new staff in the Health Ministry. “I feel that as time passed we turned from professionals reacting to events in a proactive way to accountable people with no authority who are responding late.”

Unfortunately, Sadetzki wrote, “it has been several weeks since Israel’s compass for treating the pandemic has lost its bearings. Despite repeated, organized alarms sounded off through various channels, in different discussions and forums, we watch with frustrations how time and opportunities are running out.”

“I acknowledge the privilege I had to play a significant role at the forefront of the fight against the spread of the coronavirus, at critical moments for the State of Israel and its citizens.”

Given the new conditions created, in which her professional opinion is not accepted, Sadetzki wrote, “It is no longer within my ability to help mount an effective response to stop the spread of the virus.”

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