Naftali Bennett
Naftali BennettHaim Tzach, GPO

On Thursday morning, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz held a situation assessment regarding the coronavirus and the Omicron strain.

During the discussion, proposals were made to close Ben Gurion Airport and impose severe restrictions - including lockdown - on those who are not vaccinated.

The Prime Minister supported some of the proposals, but Health Minister Horowitz and senior officials from the Health Ministry opposed several of the restrictions, arguing that they were disproportionate measures.

At the hearing, it was decided to increase enforcement of the Green Pass via barcode, with an emphasis on issuing tickets immediately, without warning, to those violating the rules. The Ministry of Internal Security will be heading the implementation of the directive in conjunction with the police.

Regarding the restrictions at Ben Gurion Airport, a further discussion will take place later today, during which decisions may be taken to ease the restrictions imposed on vaccinated citizens returning from abroad.

Prime Minister Bennett also directed the deputy Attorney-General to evaluate the possibility of imposing a lockdown and a ban on leaving the country on all those who are not vaccinated; the suggestion was later withdrawn due to legal complexities.

Regarding travel restrictions, an additional discussion will be held at a later date.

Participating in the discussion were the directors-general of the Health Ministry, the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of Internal Security, the Transportation Ministry, the Education Ministry; as well as the government's COVID Czar, the director of Ben Gurion Airport, the deputy director of the National Security Council, and others.

According to those present, the meeting was "stormy," with Bennett and Horowitz yelling at each other at times.

The Prime Minister also asked to have the option of compulsory vaccination evaluated.