Health Minister MK Yaakov Litzman told Channel 12 today that the government is considering extending the winter time period until May 1 in order to reduce the amount of time Israeli citizens spend away from homes.
Litzman attacked Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman, who claimed that research facilities were ordered to close for the Sabbath. "Liberman should apologize. There was no directive from the Ministry of Health to close laboratories. Liberman is circulating a blood libel. Unequivocally. There was no [such] directive. Everyone had to work."
In Jewish law, saving lives takes precedence over Sabbath laws.
Litzman continued saying that "If we don't maintain the quarantine, we could [face a bigger disaster] than what is happening [in some of the other countries]. "There is chaos in America and Europe. We are much better off and we need to keep it that way."
"We are only getting better," Litzman emphasized, "since we filed the [general quarantine] orders, we have seen improvement in the situation. In all sectors. I know you might ask me about the haredim, even the Arabs. I'm against people saying that the haredi sector is worse than the others. They closed down the synagogues. The rabbis understand the situation."
Continuing, Litzman said, "Every sector has its exceptions. [People defied orders and spent time in] parks, went to the beach, there are exceptions everywhere, so our job is to bring more and more awareness to all places. If there is an exception, it gets handled."
The Minister of Health said the number of tests per day has increased: "They are already doing 3,000 tests a day, it will reach 5,000, then 10,000. This virus came as a surprise. It is not a standard occurence. Look at what is happening in Europe and America. They are going crazy and managing 10 times less effectively than we are.
''So the rules have to be kept and that is what we are asking for. If the public maintains what we have asked for, there will be no general quarantine. If they don't, we will have to take that step," he concluded.