Top Health Official Assigned Security Following Death Threats

Israelis receive their dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a health care maintenance organization in Yerushalayim. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The Health Ministry has assigned a private security detail to Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, the director of public health, after police determined that she was the target of credible death threats.

Police launched a criminal probe into threats made on social media against Dr. Alroy-Preis, seen by many as the face of the government’s pandemic policies.

In the past months she has become the target of opprobrium by anti-vaxxers.

“The Health Ministry is working in liaison with the police and all reports of threats against any ministry employee are examined and dealt with in accordance with the information and security assessments,” a ministry statement read.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett backed the official, saying that “the anti-vaxxers’ fake news war against Alroy-Preis and others has to stop. The vaccines are our Iron Dome against coronavirus. They save lives and allow us to keep Israel open and functioning. Ignore the fake news, go get vaccinated.”

Public Security Minister Omer Barlev also condemned the threats, saying that “this kind of rhetoric won’t be allowed against any person, least of all against dedicated public servants and eminent experts in their field.”

Israel vaccination rollout has been acclaimed as among the world’s most efficient.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry said on Sunday that 224 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed on Shabbos after 35,596 tests conducted, indicating a 0.63% positivity rate.

There are currently 223 patients in Israel being treated for serious complications of the virus in hospitals, 133 on ventilators.

Since the start of the pandemic 8,085 people have succumbed to the virus.