Likud Lashes Bennett on Covid Shutdown Remark

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett gestures toward a map showing the spread of the Delta variant around the world, during a news conference on Wednesday. (REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s accusation of “serious neglect” by the previous government drew fire from the Likud on Wednesday.

Bennett said that shutdowns will be a last resort under his government—not like the previous one, which imposed a series of shutdowns that brought the economy to a near-standstill.

“The easiest thing, like they repeatedly did over the past year and a half, is to shut everything down. We may indeed end up there but we are going to try a different path this time. And it depends on all of us,” Bennett said at a press conference on Wednesday.

“Our aim is to protect the public while preventing disruptions of regular life as much as possible. More transparency and fewer lockdowns.”

“Bennett convened a press conference to announce that he has no decisions or guidelines while the coronavirus returns to Israel under his watch,” the Likud responded in a statement.

“No false excuse from Bennett will explain how he let the coronavirus return to Israel after he received from Netanyahu a country in the best condition in the world,” the statement adds.

The prime minister announced new measures aimed at stemming the current surge in COVID-19 in Israel, which has seen its total number of cases soar from a little over 200 last month to more than 5,000 at present.

The coronavirus cabinet meeting decided at a meeting on Tuesday night, to require wearing masks in enclosed spaces and fines for anyone who does not; an increased campaign for vaccinations; social distancing in particular at large events; and a recommendation for Israelis not to travel abroad.

However, the ministers put off decisions regarding incoming tourists, reinstitution of the green pass and other matters.