5 MDA volunteers arrested for illegally selling coronavirus tests

Some of the tests may have been carried out in a way to ensure that the results were negative, allowing "customers" to travel in and out of the country as they pleased.

Magen David Adom workers wearing protective clothing seen outside the coronavirus unit at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, September 6, 2020 (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
Magen David Adom workers wearing protective clothing seen outside the coronavirus unit at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, September 6, 2020
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
At least five Magen David Adom volunteers are being investigated for illegally carrying out coronavirus tests for civilians and pocketing the money for the tests, Israel Police announced on Wednesday.
The Jerusalem police division opened an investigation into the volunteers after receiving a complaint from MDA’s administration about suspicions that pirated coronavirus tests were being carried out on civilians by an MDA volunteer.
After the volunteer was arrested, police investigators found that additional suspects were involved as well, including MDA volunteers and lab owners in Israel and Ramallah.
The suspects would arrive at multiple locations throughout Israel to carry out the pirated tests, including Ben-Gurion Airport. Some of the tests may have been carried out in a way to ensure that the results were negative, allowing the “customers” to travel in and out of the country as they please with the fake results.
The volunteers would take the pirated tests and send them to labs in the Palestinian Authority and a private lab in Israel with the goal of ensuring that the results did not end up in the Health Ministry’s database.
“These are suspects who have taken over public health while undervaluing the importance of proper coronavirus tests, the whole purpose of which is to prevent infections, and to help the citizens of the country to get through the outbreak with a minimum of casualties, all out of greed for money,” said Israel Police. “We intend to act against the suspects in full severity in order to exhaust the law with them.”
MDA is in charge of coronavirus testing at drive-thru testing facilities and at Ben-Gurion Airport. MDA announced at the end of September that its teams had carried out nearly 1,600,000 tests in Israel for the coronavirus over the past seven months.
According to MDA’s website, results for coronavirus tests will be sent to those tested through their HMO, not through MDA.
It is unclear whether the civilians who were tested were aware that they were receiving pirated tests.
“We clarify that this is a very serious and exceptional case that requires full exaction of the law with those involved,” said MDA spokesman Zaki Heller. “We thank Israel Police for the prompt response and the intensive investigation into locating the suspects. We stand by the tens of thousands of Magen David Adom employees and volunteers who faithfully and devotedly work day and night for the health of the citizens of Israel.”
Last week, a man was arrested on suspicion that he took bribery in exchange for removing people from the Health Ministry’s list of those who must be quarantined. The man works for a subcontractor of the ministry’s appeals department.
Jerusalem Post Staff and Aaron Reich contributed to this report.