Likud MK Yifat Shasha-Biton became a political casualty of the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday as she was removed from the chairmanship of the Knesset Coronavirus Committee, where she had defied her party leadership.
In a terse statement, coalition whip Miki Zohar (Likud) said she is being punished for her “behavior, and [for] not being present for necessary votes.”
The behavior referred to was Shasha-Biton’s refusal to accept the government’s decision to close gyms and swimming pools, and leading a vote to have them open, which was implemented on Sunday.
Shasha-Biton had demanded that the Health Ministry furnish the committee with data to justify the closures, which it failed to do. Minister Yuli Edelstein insisted that the closure was necessary, and based it on the experience in other countries.
Shasha-Biton declared in response that her dismissal is an attempt by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “prevent serious deliberations, discourse, listening to the public, other voices being heard,” according to The Times of Israel.
“I acted according to my conscience. I’m also happy that I opened the committee to the public with transparency, seriousness, [and] full attentiveness; and I pledge to also continue to do so in the future in whatever position I’m in,” she said.