Bennett forced to address Knesset during Omicron quarantine

PM Naftali Bennett's daughter tested positive for COVID-19, and there is a good chance she has the Omicron variant.

 PRIME MINISTER Naftali Bennett sits in pandemic-mandated isolation in the Knesset this week, after returning from the UAE. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
PRIME MINISTER Naftali Bennett sits in pandemic-mandated isolation in the Knesset this week, after returning from the UAE.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was forced to come to the Knesset plenum on Monday and address the parliament from isolation in the visitor’s gallery, leaving his home quarantine where he was isolated because his daughter is believed to have the coronavirus Omicron variant.

Bennett said he did not want to risk infecting people. But the Likud required him to come for a parliamentary maneuver that compels the prime minister to listen to speeches by opposition MKs and then address the Knesset.

“You have lost it completely,” Bennett told Likud MKs in his speech. “You know the variant is more contagious, so forcing me to leave quarantine is irresponsible. The public is watching and are ashamed. We will continue to be responsible adults, and you will continue to play your games.”

Bennett accused Netanyahu of “playing with the pandemic to score petty political points.”

Netanyahu responded that there was legal reason for Bennett to come to the Knesset and no medical reason not to come.

 PRIME MINISTER Naftali Bennett on his way to a cabinet meeting.  (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST) PRIME MINISTER Naftali Bennett on his way to a cabinet meeting. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

“Bennett tried to avoid this debate because he did not want to hear criticism of his government,” Netanyahu said. “So stop whining and listen to the truth.”

The Likud said Netanyahu did not shut down the Knesset when he was prime minister.

“Bennett’s political spin was nonsense,” the Likud said. “He does not care about the health of the public but about his own political health, and he is indeed in danger.”

Sources close to Bennett admitted that one of the reasons he had decided to come was that the Likud refused to pair off with him for votes on Wednesday that cannot be passed without him, and he could not justify not coming on Monday and then coming for the votes on Wednesday.

A marathon session of the Knesset is expected Wednesday night because there are many bills that must be passed by the end of the year.