Those who violate virus regulations should be imprisoned, says MK Miki Zohar

We don't need stricter regulations - we just need tougher enforcement, coalition head insists.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Left-wing protest on Balfour Street
Left-wing protest on Balfour Street
Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90

Faced with mounting criticism of the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, coalition head MK Miki Zohar (Likud) is proposing not stricter regulations, but stricter enforcement of the existing laws, with harsher punishments for violators – up to and including actual imprisonment.

“I think that the most important thing right now is to impose harsher punishments – higher fines, criminal penalties – for those who break the law, including imprisonment. There’s no other way,” he told Reshet Kan Bet, singling out the ongoing demonstrations outside the Prime Minister’s Jerusalem Residence on Balfour Street for condemnation. “These protests are bringing destruction upon us,” he insisted. “We have no choice but to impose harsher penalties.”

Elaborating on his intent, Zohar stressed that “these harsher punishments must be applied across the board. We have to explain to people – including the Prime Minister’s adviser – that we need to adhere to the regulations,” he said, referring to an incident that occurred this Sunday night when one of Netanyahu’s advisers, Topaz Luk, was spotted in the crowd on Balfour Street, documenting the protest, when he was supposed to be in quarantine.

When asked if he was actually advocating for the Prime Minister’s adviser to be arrested and put in jail, Zohar responded, “You’re not focusing on the main point I’m making. I’m trying to stress something very basic – that all of us need to obey the law.”

In another interview, this time on Radio 103 FM, Zohar explained why he believes that a parallel must be drawn between the guidelines imposed on synagogues and those applying to demonstrations: “There’s no way we can explain to the general public how it is that thousands of protesters can crowd together in one place, but only a very limited number of people are permitted to come together to pray.” He added that he is “certain that there is mass contagion at these protests.”

Pressed on the matter of Topaz Luk, Zohar said, “Topaz Luk is a personal friend of mine. And I can tell you that I wish we had more people who love this country like he does.”

Instead, he reserved his criticism for the Knesset’s coronavirus committee head, MK Yifat Shasha-Biton. “I will have to make a decision on whether to fire her, and I intend to discuss this very matter with the Prime Minister,” he said.