Rivlin to Arabs: We were complacent. Corona is still here

President brings together heads of Arab local authorities for an emergency meeting over coronavirus.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

President Rivlin
President Rivlin
Flash 90

President of Israel Reuven Rivlin today, Wednesday, brought together the heads of Arab local authorities for an emergency meeting in light of the fight against coronavirus, calling on Arab citizens to also follow the directives. Sitting beside the president during the call was the chair of the Association for Heads of the Arab Local Councils and head of the Ara-Ar'ara local council Mudar Yunes.

“The coronavirus pandemic burst into our lives several months ago. When it did, you acted quickly and decisively,” said the president to Arab citizens of Israel, adding, “you accepted the decisions to close mosques, places of prayer and shopping centers during Ramadan, Easter and Nebi Shuaib. These decisions were not at all straightforward and were taken by the courageous religious and secular leadership who understood the significance of the moment.”

The president also said that after the first lockdown, we all had the feeling that the worst was behind us. “Now, it seems that we were complacent. Corona is still here, the numbers are only rising and we need to take steps to limit our movement again. I do not take lightly the sacrifice of moments of joy at weddings and family gatherings for the various festivals. But at this point, we must value life. We must think of the grandparents, of the elderly and the sick and protect them from getting the virus. We must think of those who take care of the elderly and sick, our wonderful doctors and nurses, the administrative and support workers at the hospitals, many of them from Arab society. They are the heroes of this crisis, working around the clock to deal with the mounting pressure because of the virus.

The president referred to the digital gaps and problems with internet access that hamper students’ access to online learning in the Arab sector, saying “tomorrow, I will be visiting the workshops of Mitchashvim, an organization that aims to give a computer to every boy and girl in Israel. Beit HaNasi is taking an active role in the efforts to close the digital gap. This is a national mission across all sectors, and particularly in the Arab sector.”

The local authority heads told the president of the challenges they face in the current situation, of difficulties in getting budgets, the critical need for technological assistance and the substandard internet infrastructure. They also spoke of the profound crisis of confidence they face, along with the extensive public information activity on the importance of following the Ministry of Health guidance.