Yifat Shasha-Biton
Yifat Shasha-BitonOlivier Fitoussi/FLASH90

Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton (New Hope) slammed those who criticized her insistence on canceling quarantine for children.

The plan was based on the assumption that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 does not present a real risk to children. Health Ministry officials, however, as well as one of the doctors who crafted the plan to cancel quarantines and a public health association, have urged the government not to implement the plan. Despite this, talks between the Prime Minister and Shasha-Biton ended with an agreement to charge ahead.

In an interview with Yediot Aharonot, which will be published Friday in the "7 Days" weekend supplement, Shasha-Biton justified her decision, saying, "From my perspective, this could have happened earlier as well. The scale of the cases is not such that justifies keeping two million students home. You cannot drag people on anymore, and I hope that everyone has already reached the conclusion that we can let everyone free - including adults - from this, and really take the route that anyone who is sick should stay home."

Turning her ire on the Health Ministry, Shasha-Biton said, "The Ministry put out an official notice two months ago: 'The Minister who denies coronavirus has officially woken up.' Tell me if you know if ever, in the entire history of the State, an official notice by a Ministry was expressed this way. And it sits exactly in line with the campaign that the Likud is leading against me. It's the same language, the same terminology. They are trying to echo these things in order to create a narrative that will free them from their part in this story. But I want, one time, for this to be known, clearly: There was a consciousness created about me. [Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu created this consciousness, as did some in the Health Ministry. They presented me as a coronavirus denier and as against vaccines, and that's absolutely fake."

Last year, Shasha-Biton claimed that vaccinating children against during school hours would be a "crime."

Shasha-Biton also fumed at reports that Yaffa Ben David, Secretary General of the Israel Teachers Union, spoke with head of public health services Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, the latter allegedly exerting pressure on Ben David to launch a strike in protest against the government's decision.

"There is an unacceptable situation here, in which someone who is a public servant in one ministry is communicating with the chair of a different workers union. Her behavior has crossed every red line. We said already last Thursday that there was a plan like this, and professionals in the Health Ministry were supposed to prepare an order and issue the written guidelines, but they held off on that, and today we understand why: They were busy trying to torpedo it."