Alroy-Preis called ‘Pfizer worker’ at Knesset hearing on COVID vaccines

Episode marks second time Public Health Services head at the Health Ministry is insulted during a Knesset hearing • Police investigate threats

 Israel's head of public health Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis is seen speaking at the Jerusalem Post annual conference at the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem, on October 12, 2021. (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)
Israel's head of public health Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis is seen speaking at the Jerusalem Post annual conference at the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem, on October 12, 2021.
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, head of Public Health Services at the Health Ministry, was accused during a hearing of the Knesset Health Committee of being “a Pfizer employee” and “not objective.”

The episode marks the second time the official has been insulted during a hearing at the Knesset. It occurred only weeks after the police opened an investigation into threats and incitement against her on social media and other outlets.

The committee convened on Tuesday to discuss the ministry’s decision to recommend vaccination for children age five to 11.

Representatives of the public were invited to participate, in person or via Zoom. A woman named Valentina Nelin, who said she was a lawyer from the National Committee of Parents, accused Alroy-Preis of barring dissenting voices from appearing at the debate and of being an employee of Pfizer.

Prior to the discussion, Nelin had posted on Facebook that COVID was not dangerous, and that people who died were victims of the vaccine.

A YOUNG GIRL receives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Louisville, Kentucky, earlier this week. Will we be seeing similar scenes in Israel soon? (credit: Jon Cherr/Reuters)A YOUNG GIRL receives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Louisville, Kentucky, earlier this week. Will we be seeing similar scenes in Israel soon? (credit: Jon Cherr/Reuters)

Committee head MK Idit Silman (Yamina) said she learned the woman did not represent the parents’ organization and ordered Nelin to be removed from the discussion. Silman said she would not allow civil servants to be attacked, or for the committee decisions to become politically driven.

Preis responded that the accusations were “absurd and a complete fabrication.”

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz tweeted: “The next person who spreads lies and conspiracy theories about Dr. Alroy-Preis, or any of the professionals in my office, will find us working against them with all the legal means at our disposal. Enough. These people give their souls to keep us all healthy. Look for another target for your lies, or maybe – start learning the facts.”

In August, an unidentified participant attending a session of the Knesset Law and Constitution Committee online also cursed Alroy-Preis.

The Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.