Naftali Bennett slams Health Ministry amid coronavirus crisis

According to the defense minister, there are too few tests and people wait at least 5-6 days before receiving a result.

Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem January 27, 2019. (photo credit: ABIR SULTAN / REUTERS)
Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem January 27, 2019.
(photo credit: ABIR SULTAN / REUTERS)
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett slammed the Ministry of Health’s policy to impose a nation-wide lockdown on Thursday, arguing that the shutdown of the country will lead to a devastating damage to Israel’s economy.
“The sweeping closure of Israel, which was very correct at the beginning, cannot continue to be the main tool over time, due to its devastating impact on businesses and jobs in Israel,” he said. “The Ministry of Health is rooted in an ideology that does not believe in the centrality of testing which is a tool for exiting this crisis.”
Bennett argued that Israelis must be able to return to work and that more COVID-19 checks and keeping some people in quarantine, such as the elderly, and allowing others to work would be more sensible.
“We must go from a policy of the hammer to a policy of tweezers,” he said, criticising the Health Ministry’s policy which is resulting in “enormous damage to the Israeli economy and the livelihood of millions of private sector employees.”
Calling once again that his ministry and the IDF should be given immediate responsibility for the tests in an effort to curb the virus, he warned that the country not only risks not being able to exit the crisis but that it risks a renewed outbreak of the epidemic.
“Without extensive, quick and accurate testing, we will have to continue the "hammer" approach that requires a sweeping closure on all Israeli citizens, instead of a "tweezers" policy that will allow the Israeli economy to open alongside local isolation of corona carriers or the closure of specific corona areas,” he added.
According to the defense minister, there are too few tests and people wait at least 5-6 days before receiving a result.
“The lack of belief in the importance of the tests is as if a brigade commander does not want to receive intelligence on enemy territory for action,” he said. “This is the most urgent task of the Israeli government. We shouldn't waste even one day."