Litzman: Coronavirus situation has improved, now is the time to leave

Health Minister explains why he decided to step down now and move to the Housing Ministry.

Ben Ariel ,

Yaakov Litzman
Yaakov Litzman
Photo: GPO

Health Minister Yaakov Litzman was interviewed by Channel 12 News on Sunday, a day after he informed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that he would leave his post when the next government is formed and asked to be appointed Housing Minister instead.

"My first term lasted four years. Then I had a break for a year and a half and then I served [in the post] for another five years. Nine years in office is a very long time, I did in this ministry what no minister did, I approved free dentistry for kids, dentistry from the age of 75, marking of food items, [and] many nursing and mental health reforms. Over the last two years, I have heard many calls on the street for me to go to the Housing Ministry in order to help young couples,” said Litzman.

"If I had stepped down earlier, they would have claimed that I had been dismissed. Gantz and Bibi agreed that I could remain as Health Minister. As soon as I saw that the coronavirus situation had improved, I thought it was the right time to leave," Litzman added.

He responded to the critics who claimed he contracted the coronavirus after violating the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and said, "I kept all the procedures that are in place the entire time. The subject is being discussed in a legal hearing. I did not lie and I follow the procedures. In the place where I prayed, 10-11 people can pray while keeping a distance of two meters.”

Litzman expressed support for the decisions made during the crisis by the Director-General of the Health Ministry, Moshe Bar Siman Tov.

"I think he is an excellent Director-General, he works well. It is permissible to be a person who has an opinion. I can say that when the coronavirus started, all the ambassadors were with me when I instructed not to let the planes enter the country. In my opinion, this was the decision stabilized the situation."