PM Netanyahu:
'There will be a general lockdown - better to start now'

DM Gantz demands end to 'disproportionate' focus on demonstrations as PM Netanyahu pushes for harsher lockdown.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this evening, Wednesday, at a meeting of the Coronavirus Cabinet that there will be no choice but to impose a general lockdown on Israeli citizens in the coming days and, he said, "It is better to start now during the holidays."

Meanwhile, Knesset members from the coalition have been notified to prepare for a long day of discussions tomorrow, during which they are expected to vote on amending the Coronavirus Law.

Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Health Prof. Itamar Grotto said in the Cabinet that "There is no need for a complete closure right now, it is possible to wait with the tightening of measures." Netanyahu replied: "Why wait? After Sukkot, the closure will cost us more money."

Earlier during the meeting, Netanyahu sharply criticized the Blue and White ministers, after they expressed opposition to the restriction of demonstrations.

"I fully support the right to demonstrate, but every week Israeli citizens see how they are required to celebrate the holidays alone, how they are required to comply with health guidelines, and on the other hand how demonstrators gather en masse in violation of all health rules," Netanyahu said.

''31 people died from the coronavirus today. I am fighting for the lives of the citizens of Israel. I fight for public health. At this time there are those who do a little politics. We're at war. Wake up," the prime minister added.

In the afternoon, Defense Minister Benny Gantz convened an urgent consultation with members of the Corona Cabinet from the Blue and White party. After conferring with them Gantz instructed the ministers to demand the summoning of the medical professionals to hear their position and to make sure that they express it openly in the Coronvirusa Cabinet and to cease further discussion on the issue of demonstrations.

Gantz told the ministers: "We insist on the good health of the citizens and on stopping morbidity while balancing the elements of Judaism, democracy, the economy and society and do not focus only on the issue of demonstrations. We must stop the disproportionate discussion of demonstrations immediately."

''We accept the position of the professionals on the important issue of a full closure and state of emergency. Our decision has implications for human life and we will accept it solely in accordance with the position of the professionals. Only according to the needs of the hour in health, the economy and in stopping the disease," Gantz said.