Netanyahu Denies ‘Political Considerations’ Part of Plan to Ease Lockdown

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu denied Sunday any political considerations in the government’s decision to ease the national coronavirus virus lockdown, after criticism of the decision to reopen preschools and daycare centers in virus hotspots.

“We did not agree to any change in the plan presented by the experts and I forcefully reject the claims of political considerations. There were no such considerations,” he said during the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting in a video statement released by his office.

Netanyahu defended the decision to approve a gradual multistage plan for lifting the lockdown and called on all Israelis to adhere to the restrictions still in place. Netanyahu added that the lockdown would be ended more slowly and gradually than the first lockdown.

“Today we are beginning our exit from the lockdown. This time we are cautiously and responsibly exiting from the lockdown, exactly according to the outline that was proposed to us by the experts and by the Health Ministry, including the red cities.

“There were no political considerations and all of the ministers that participated in the discussion will attest to this.”

“The decisions that we made about the lockdown, about the slow and gradual exit, were not simple decisions but they were responsible, and this is how we must continue to act. I expect all of you to stand together, behind the decisions that we have made, and behind the decisions that we will make.”

The prime minister said that he will continue to discuss easing the lockdown. “This week I will convene the Corona Cabinet to continue discussing the next stages of the outline. I have asked the finance minister to formulate an additional assistance plan for workers and businesses that remain under lockdown in the red cities. I welcome the quick work in formulating the outline. Our goal is clear: To leave no one behind.”