Coronavirus Fines to be Doubled in Israel

Israelis wearing a face mask walks in downtown Yerushalayim on November 03, 2020, as Israel steps out of coronavirus lockdown and rolls back restrictions. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Exit or no exit, Israeli authorities put coronavirus scofflaws on notice Tuesday that they are prepared to come down hard to enforce the regulations.

The Ministerial Legislative Committee announced that fines for violation of the Health Ministry’s social distancing guidelines will be raised from NIS 5,000, to NIS 10,000.

The proposal was advanced by the committee’s chairman, Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn of Blue and White. United Torah Judaism MKs and Ministers Zeev Elkin and Yaakov Avitan opposed the proposal. But it is expected to garner enough votes for passage in the Knesset.

Opponents argued that given the already significant fines and the severity of the economic crisis that it would be unduly onerous to raise the fines. Their arguments apparently did have an effect, as the initial proposal was for quadrupling the fines to 20,000.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu held a brainstorming session for how to cope with the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, N12 reported.

The meeting was attended by Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, Public Security Minister Amir Ohana, outgoing coronavirus commissioner Prof. Ronni Gamzu, Science and Technology Minister Yizhar Shay, Health Ministry director-general Chezy Levy, former Health Ministry director-general Moshe Bar Siman Tov and relevant experts.

The meeting is being referred to as the “professors consultation” and is focused on coming up with new ideas for fighting the pandemic.

Also on Tuesday, Globes reported that the Covid-19 testing stations and laboratory have been set up at Ben Gurion airport and await approval. The service is to be launched on November 9, pending clearance from the Ministry of Health.

When operational, Israelis will be able to pay a lot less when traveling abroad to countries that require presentation of a negative Covid-19 test result in English. The Ben Gurion airport testing service will charge NIS 45 for a test, with results within 14 hours, and NIS 135 for a test, with results within four hours. The testing and laboratories are operated by Omega in cooperation with Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center, which won the Israel Airports Authority tender in July.