Deri steps into Health Ministry, will push for higher budget

Arye Deri said that he will focus on two main issues for the ministry: a significant addition to the budget base of NIS 5.85 billion and better management and implementation abilities.

Shas leader MK Arye Deri is seen at the Knesset, on July 26, 2021. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Shas leader MK Arye Deri is seen at the Knesset, on July 26, 2021.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Health Minister Arye Deri said upon taking office on Sunday that he will focus on two key issues for the ministry: a significant addition to the budget base of NIS 5.85 billion and better management and implementation abilities.

“We came to work and do good for all the citizens of Israel,” said Deri.

Taking over from Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz, the Shas minister said the ministry has “a big and very important challenge of saving lives and providing services to citizens. I took on the position because I see it as very important and meaningful.”

The changing of the guard ceremony was attended by Horowitz, Director-General Prof. Nachman Ash, ministry management and Shas MK Moshe Arbel, who is the party’s legal adviser.

What did Horowitz say?

 Aryeh Deri, second from right, Nitzan Horowitz second from left, Prof. Nachman Ash at right, MK Moshe Arbel at left. (credit: GOVERNMENT PRESS OFFICE) Aryeh Deri, second from right, Nitzan Horowitz second from left, Prof. Nachman Ash at right, MK Moshe Arbel at left. (credit: GOVERNMENT PRESS OFFICE)

Horowitz said the ministry “is a leading player in the international arena, thanks to the capabilities of the public system and the performance of our health professionals in the fight against COVID-19. The Israeli health system is an object of praise and a role model for other countries of the world, and today they seek to learn from us, cooperate and strengthen their connections with us.”

The outgoing minister added that when he took office, he emphasized the need for a strong public health system, rather than a private one.

“This is a fundamental component of the country’s national resilience. This was in my mind for every decision, and we took very significant steps that strengthened the public system and will strengthen it for many years to come – the increase in the budget, the fixing of the demographic coefficient, dental treatments for the elderly, the addition of places for medical and nursing students, the reform of mental health and many other important things,” he said.

Horowitz added he and Deri “disagree on many issues, but on this matter, I know we see eye to eye."

Horowitz also mentioned the unresolved conflict with hospital interns and residents, expressing hope that Deri will be able to reach a solution. They had gone on protest over the past two years for working 26-hour shifts.

Ash asked Deri to protect the health system from discrimination.

“The employees of the health system work and treat each and everyone without distinction of race, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, or anything else. I am ashamed that there is a need for a campaign to prevent discrimination in this system.”