Edelstein: Religious and political gatherings should both be restricted

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein explains decision to lockdown 30 towns and cities. 'If we follow the rules there won't be lockdowns.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Yuli Edelstein
Yuli Edelstein
צילום: Flash90

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) explained the Coronavirus Cabinet's decision Thursday to impose a lockdown in 30 'red' cities and towns in Israel beginning next Monday.

"As I warned - we are in a situation where we had to impose a closure on 30 localities," Edelstein said in an interview with Channel 12 News. The minister criticized the policy of not enforcing the restrictions. "If two and a half months ago there was enforcement when I asked for it, there may not have been a need for lockdowns."

"It can't be that even now we see weddings, illegal events and businesses that do not follow the guidelines. Every health decision I have made is meant to do things that will prevent the need for a lockdown."

When asked about Coronavirus Czar Prof. Roni Gamzu's performance, Edelstein said: "I do not regret the moment I turned to Gamzu. I give him my full backing. It does not mean that he does not make mistakes, but together with the Health Ministry he is doing a good job."

"Gamzu needs the cooperation of the public and the political echelon," he explained. "If he encounters resistance to any step - it will lead us to a lockdown, which we are trying to avoid."

Edelstein claimed that "if I had come to the cabinet today and said that we had discovered more than 3,000 patients a day and that the number of serious patients had increased - there would have been no discussion: everyone would have raised their hand and said to go to a lockdown."

The health minister also referred to the large anti-Netanyahu demonstrations which have been held in recent weeks: "The coronavirus has no political views. If we can restrict a religious person with regards to prayer and synagogues, which is a fundamental right - it would not hurt to restrict political gatherings as well."

"If we follow the rules, then we will not have to lockdown on the High Holidays," Edelstein concluded.