'Gov't distributes Band-Aids instead of solutions' - activists

Protesters dressed up as medical workers and handed out adhesive bandages to show the impact a lack of a budget is having on Israel's health system, as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

Activist from the Social Justice Centers with a facemask of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hands out a Band-Aid to protest the quick fix of the government's policies, Tel Aviv, December 2, 2020 (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/ MAARIV)
Activist from the Social Justice Centers with a facemask of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hands out a Band-Aid to protest the quick fix of the government's policies, Tel Aviv, December 2, 2020
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/ MAARIV)
Protesters gathered early on Wednesday morning in Tel Aviv's Habima Square to hand out Band-Aid-type adhesive bandages to protest the lack of a state budget in Israel.
Dressed as medical workers, and complete with face masks of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz, activists from the Social Justice Centers of the Hashomer Hatzair movement are demanding that Netanyahu and Gantz work together to pass a state budget for 2021.
The budget for 2020 has still not been passed and has a deadline of December 23. If no budget is passed by this date, the Knesset will automatically disperse and Israel will head to elections.
Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz also made an appearance at the protests, Tel Aviv, December 2, 2020 (Credit: Avshalom Sassoni/Maariv)Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz also made an appearance at the protests, Tel Aviv, December 2, 2020 (Credit: Avshalom Sassoni/Maariv)
The bandages are meant to show that the temporary, "quick-fix" solutions of the government are ineffective, and to indicate the need for a state budget immediately.
"The health care system is collapsing. The system already lacks NIS 16 billion to meet the OECD average," said Yizhar Carmon of the Social Justice Centers. "The coronavirus crisis has revealed a dried-out system, with no hospital beds, and a shortage of nurses, doctors and respirators.
"The death toll will soon reach 3,000, and the government distributes Band-Aids to us instead of real solutions, such as a budget for the health system," he said. "We mustn't continue with the Band-Aids and the games – a budget is needed now."
Coronavirus cases continued to rise in Israel throughout the week. There were 1,182 new cases on Tuesday, the Health Ministry announced Wednesday morning, leading many to fear that a new lockdown will be implemented.
The Social Justice Centers have been very active over the past year as political instability and the coronavirus crisis have forced thousands of Israelis out of work and into financial difficulty. In August, protesters used tombstones bearing the names of closed businesses to illustrate the economic difficulty in which tens of thousands of Israelis have been living, and the government's inadequate response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Celia Jean contributed to this article.
Even Finance Minister Israel Katz made an appearance, alongside Prime Minister Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz. (Credit: Avshalom Sassoni/Maariv)Even Finance Minister Israel Katz made an appearance, alongside Prime Minister Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz. (Credit: Avshalom Sassoni/Maariv)