Health Minister Fires Opening Shot in Budget Battles

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz (wearing mask) sits next to Prof. Nachman Ash (second from left). (Flash90)

The deadline for voting on the budget isn’t until November, but the budget battles are starting already.

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) fired the first warning shot, saying that he won’t support the state budget unless the healthcare system gets a bigger piece of the pie.

“Without a solution for the healthcare system, we won’t be able to pass the budget,” he said.

“At this stage there is no progress with the Treasury regarding the health system’s budget, on the contrary, everything is stuck,” he said.

Horowitz told a Meretz faction meeting on Monday that “the health system is connected to an ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) machine and needs urgent oxygen,” he said.

“Budget officials are trying to trample on the government’s guidelines, which have set clear metrics for system recovery and strengthening. I want to make it clear that if we do not reach agreements with the Treasury on strengthening the system’s infrastructure for years to come, there will be a very big crisis here.”

Under Israeli law, the state budget must pass by November or the government automatically dissolves and new elections are called.

Meanwhile, Health Ministry Director-General Nachman Ash shared his gloom about the current coronavirus situation with reporters on Monday, noting that the number of serious COVID cases surpassed 100 on Sunday, for the first time in months.

“We hope the Green Pass will help reduce morbidity, but the number of serious cases is very troubling,” said Ash.

The renewed restrictions will apply to both indoor and outdoor events with over 100 participants, starting on July 29. The requirement to present proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test from the past 72 hours will only apply to people older than 12. Under that age, there will be no restrictions.

On Monday evening, Channel 12 reported that some 2,000 travelers carrying COVID entered Israel this month.

Among them, 314 came from Turkey, 291 from Greece, 169 from the UK, 142 from the US and 147 from Cyprus.

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