Ministers Lock Horns on Coming Lockdown

YERUSHALAYIM -
Minister in the Ministry of Finance Hamad Amar. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Amid a series of official warnings that if coronavirus numbers don’t decline, Israel could go to a lockdown over the Chagim, it was reported on Sunday that there is stiff opposition to it in the government.

Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton said at a cabinet meeting that the possibility of lockdown must be “taken off the agenda.”

“There are [reservation] cancellations and people are anxious for… their livelihood,” she said according to media reports. “We have seen the charts — it doesn’t matter whether countries imposed lockdown or not, the morbidity charts look the same,” referring to findings that the closures have had little impact on the spread of the coronavirus.

Intelligence Minister Elazar Stern said: “We need to eliminate the word ‘lockdown’ from our lexicon. We are causing people to live under threat.”

Hamad Amar, a minister in the Finance Ministry, notes that Australia is currently in its eighth lockdown yet cases are still on the rise, claiming that “lockdown isn’t a solution.”

The reports came on a day when Health Ministry director general Prof. Nahman Ash reiterated that if the virus is not stemmed, there would be no choice but to impose a lockdown by Rosh Hashana.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that the vaccine drive among over-60s has been succeeding.

Bennett cited official statistics showing that more than 420,000 Israelis older than 60 have received a booster shot, over a third of the total targeted population. Bennett says the number is expected to grow to half a million people by the end of Sunday.