Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kisch (Likud) caused a political storm on Wednesday, when he warned that the March 23 elections could end up having to be postponed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“If we get to the eve of the election with such a high infection rate and such high numbers, in my opinion, I don’t know how we would have elections,” Kisch said in an interview with 103 FM Radio, which is part of The Jerusalem Post Group.
“If the election was due to be held tomorrow, during a lockdown, the Health Ministry would recommend delaying it by a month. We would say that it would not be right now for [the election] to take place,” he said.
Kisch stressed that he was expressing his own personal point of view, and that the decision would be made solely by the Central Elections Committee. He also said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had not spoken about such a possibility.
He was immediately attacked by party leaders in the opposition. They noted that a tape of Netanyahu telling potential supporters that coronavirus infection rates impacted the Likud’s standing in the polls was revealed last week.
“Bibi wants to postpone the election and make Israel a dictatorship,” Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman said. “This tendency to try to delay is connected to depression, an inability to listen and concentrate, and fear.”
Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz said his party would “fight a war against attempts to steal our democracy using the health crisis.”
“Bibi postponed his trial, and now he is trying to postpone the election because the infection rate does not fit with his campaign,” Horowitz said. “He would do anything to evade justice.”