Likud: Investigate Claims Bennett Bribed Hospitals to Mislead Public on COVID-19

Shaare Zedek hospital team members wearing protective clothes as they work in the coronavirus ward of the hospital. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

The Likud has demanded Prime Minister Naftali Bennett be investigated on suspicion of paying hospitals across the country to remain silent should they be overwhelmed by coronavirus patients following a report in Israel Hayom.

On Thursday, Israel Hayom reported that Bennett and his close associates pressured hospital directors not to give media interviews or sound the alarm if hospitals are unable to properly care for patients who are seriously ill with COVID-19.

In addition, a senior ministry official asserted the government had issued the unprecedented demand the Health Ministry “provide a lower standard of medical care to say that we can meet the demands of treating coronavirus patients and avoid entering a lockdown.”

Health Ministry Director General Professor Nachman Ash even warned coronavirus patients “could die in the streets,” the source said.

Likud party officials claimed, “The demand for an investigation follows the report of the deal Bennett offered in which he demanded hospital directors lie and mislead the public in regard to the extent of the coronavirus failure he is responsible for, this in return for a budget increase of billions of shekels.”

The Prime Minister’s Office responded to the uproar in a statement calling the report on the “imaginary demand for silence from hospital directors – false and unfounded.

“No such demand was made of hospital directors, not officially or alluded to, not in writing or a verbal agreement. Any attempt to slander the professional integrity of the best of our doctors disparages those who are on the front lines of the coronavirus battle day and night. Everything else in the article quite simply never happened.”

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