Yuli Edelstein
Yuli Edelsteinצילום: מאיר אליפור

Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) accused Defense Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz (Blue and White) of committing a ‘crime’ against the public’s health, as the government deadlock continues, leaving payments to Pfizer for COVID vaccine doses frozen.

“Gantz is committing a crime against the health of Israeli citizens,” said Edelstein. “Minister Gantz is putting Israel’s ability to get vaccines essential to the reopening of the economy in jeopardy.”

“The inexplicable refusal to purchase the vaccines has continued even after Gantz and his people got all of their questions answered from experts in the Health Ministry. Apparently, that was all part of a cynical game and waste of Israeli citizens’ time.”

“[Gantz] never intended to allow the purchase of the vaccines, everything else is just an excuse. The serious consequences to the health and the economy of failing to purchase the vaccines will be his doing.”

Late last month, Gantz announced that he would filibuster the government over Prime Minister Netanyahu’s refusal to appoint a new Justice Minister. Gantz’s decision barred the cabinet from convening to vote on measures including the allocation of funds to pay for additional shipments of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine.

Pfizer has since warned that it will not ship additional doses of the vaccine to Israel until the funds are allotted.

There is currently no Justice Minister in the government, after Gantz’s term as acting Justice Minister expired on April 1st. Gantz was tapped to serve as acting minister following the resignation of Minister Avi Nissenkorn.