Liberman Comes Out Against Lockdown

YERUSHALAYIM -
Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman, flanked by Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Oded Forer (left) and Ram Blinkov, Director General of the Ministry of Finance, at a press conference in the Agriculture Ministry. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman weighed in Monday on the ongoing discussion of whether a fourth national lockdown is in the offing.

“An effort needs to be made to do everything prevent a lockdown. A lockdown is not the right thing. It’s not clear there’s a correlation between a lockdown and a decline in confirmed [cases] and serious patients. What is clear is there is a correlation between a lockdown and economic damage,” Liberman said during a press briefing.

Adopting the position of those who say that covid is here to stay, he added: “We must prepare to live alongside the coronavirus. Just as we know to live alongside the flu, the same with coronavirus.”

He also noted that economies need certainty and that talk of a lockdown “hurts certainty.”

Meanwhile, the director-general of the Finance Ministry opined that there is “no economic logic” of using financial grants to encourage vaccination among those who are still not immunized.

“This sends a bad message to those who got vaccinated,” Ram Belinkov is quoted as saying during a briefing by Army Radio.

He also warned of widespread non-compliance with lockdown rules if they are imposed, and says that even if things get worse, unemployment benefits won’t be granted on a long-term basis.

“There’s a risk that employers will take advantage of putting workers on furlough during the Chagim, when output is low, at the expense of the state,” Belinkov said.