Prof. Gabi Barbash relinquishes appointment as coronavirus project manager

Leading candidate for coronavirus project manager steps aside in wake of argument between Prime Minister and Health Minister.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Professor Gabi Barbash
Professor Gabi Barbash
Channel 12 News

Prof. Gabi Barbash, the Prime Minister's leading candidate to serve as project manager for the coronavirus, announced on Wednesday night that he is relinquishing the appointment.

"The coronavirus presents the State of Israel with one of the most complex challenges in its history. From the beginning of the goings on, I thought that in an event with so many variables, in which the hidden prevails over the visible, there is paramount importance in concentrating all forces under one administrative envelope. For me, personal mobilization on the issue was an obvious matter, and when I received a proposal to examine the right way to formally join this effort, I believed that it should be discussed seriously," Barbash said.

"Everyone who works in the field of public medicine knows that time is a critical component in running a campaign of this kind. In recent days I have held discussions with the Prime Minister, the Minister of Health and others, on the ways to conduct this national effort and since we are not convening to reach a decision, I believe that I should step aside and pave the way for decision-makers to continue to discuss the urgent issues at hand, and not personal issues. I would like to thank the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health for approaching me."

"The success of the State of Israel in the fight against the coronavirus truly depends on each and every one of us. I will continue to lend a hand and assist in this important national effort in various ways, as I have done since the outbreak of the virus," Barbash concluded.

On Tuesday, it still seemed that Barbash’s appointment was final, but on Wednesday it became clear that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu promoted it without consulting Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, who then announced that he was not sure he would approve it.

The argument between Netanyahu and Edelstein was political in nature: Netanyahu wanted to have the authority to activate Prof. Barbash, even if he was subordinate to the Ministry of Health, a demand rejected by Edelstein.