Bennett Mending Fences with Health Officials

YERUSHALAYIM -
Health Minister Director-General Nachman Ash. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met on Thursday with senior health officials to patch things up after a swipe at their performance in the covid crisis while in New York caused an irate reaction.

 

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office claimed that that “there was no disagreement” between the two sides, and that Bennett “made it clear to the participants that the close cooperation that has characterized the fight against the coronavirus so far will continue.”

The statement was at odds with reports that Bennett has been rebuffing the health officials who have been pressing for renewed restrictions to fight the covid threat.

During a briefing with Israeli journalists in New York earlier this week, Bennett maintained that the medical experts advising the government were “not seeing the full picture,” and said that they don’t make the final decisions—the government does.

 

The comment drew expressions of disagreement, however muted. Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz called the comments “unnecessary and unfortunate,” and Health Ministry director general Nachman Ash said the words were unexpected and “unpleasant.”

 

“The prime minister and the health minister stressed during the conversation that they give great importance to the position of the professional officials, even when it differs from the position of the policy-makers,” says the PMO.