Netanyahu: 'We want to prevent or postpone closure'

Prime Minister Netanyahu speaks at end of working visit to task force to cut contagion chain in Home Front Command.

Tags: Coronavirus
Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a statement Monday evening from the national coronavirus headquarters.

"We are working on two needs - health and the economy. I am very impressed by the cooperation between the Health and Defense Ministries, along with the Prime Minister's Office. We are making one of the best operations in the world. At the same time, we will bring to the government's approval an additional budget of NIS 11 billion to help businesses and the economy in Israel," the prime minister said.

He added, "We were the first to close the skies, and we have relatively low mortality rates compared to similarly-sized countries. And our level of morbidity is relatively low and until recently was stable. We were the first to reopen the economy, and it can be said with certainty that Israel's economy shrank by half what the European economy shrank by."

According to Netanyahu, attempts are being made to avoid another lockdown. "We are seeing a high rise in morbidity. This is the way the virus works. There are dangerous crowds that must stop and they do not wear masks. The experts fear a surge in the number of patients in serious condition and dead. Of course we want to avoid or postpone a general closure and we are acting in that manner. We have decided to take the step of stopping the lockdown in 40 red cities."

The prime minister also criticized members of the opposition. "Unfortunately, politicians are taking advantage of the epidemic, saying not to obey the police and law enforcement - and that's anarchy. I sent them a letter saying to stop acting so irresponsibly because this is inappropriate and dangerous behavior. Be leaders. We made the right decisions during the first wave, and we did so again during the second wave.”

Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz also spoke, stating that "our goal is to cut the chain of contagion, to put the smallest number of people possible in isolation in accordance with the Health Ministry guidelines. Our dialogue with the authorities is important and that is why the delay happened - the application in the field must match the reality.”

"I agree with the Prime Minister that the issue of the economy is important and these matters have serious social consequences. People get depressed and it is not easy. I think we need to open up the economy and we need to immediately look to 2021. We cannot look only at the short term,” Gantz said.

Gantz responded to calls by Yisrael Beyteinu chairman Avigdor Liberman, who called on the public to “act in accordance with common sense and not in accordance with government guidelines.”

"We allow demonstrations and what is needed, and yet - the instructions must be obeyed. Neither a personal revolt nor a revolt of authority is a solution to what is happening in the State of Israel - only cooperation will help," the defense minister said.

Coronavirus Czar Prof. Roni Gamzu addressed the imposition of a curfew in dozens of red cities and said: "It's hard for me, the cabinet and all of us - but we have to beat the coronavirus."

He apologized to the haredi community “if they feel like we are targeting them.”

Gamzu claimed he had full backing from the government. "We can win, the government is united. I receive full backing, so no one should think otherwise."