No agreement reached on reopening of schools

After a lengthy debate, cabinet fails to agree on outline to reopen schools, meaning the plan to reopen on Tuesday is in question.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Coronavirus ward at Shaare Zedek Hospital
Coronavirus ward at Shaare Zedek Hospital
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

The cabinet met on Sunday night to discuss the continuation of the easing of the lockdown and the outline for the resumption of classes in schools and kindergartens.

After a lengthy debate, it was decided to resume the discussion on Monday. This means that the plan to reopen schools on Tuesday is in question.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the start of the cabinet meeting, "We are still in the midst of a close race between the 'Back to Life' vaccines operation and the spread of the British mutation throughout the country and around the world. Our goal is to vaccinate 95% of those in the 50+ age group. We want to do this in as short a time as possible, two or three weeks. We are running full tilt to do this.”

“At the same time, we started this morning with the first stage of the gradual exit from the lockdown, with the cancellation of several restrictions. I would like to emphasize, the easing of the lockdown does not mean that the increase in morbidity is behind us. We must not become complacent. We must not act irresponsibly. Otherwise, morbidity will simply increase, claim terrible costs, also in lives – very many people have lost their lives, and in severe cases, which will lead to the collapse of the health system.”

Turning to the ministers, Netanyahu said, “I ask that you all act responsibly, both around this table and by all citizens of Israel. We must continue to strictly follow the rules. The first and most simple rule, even if you have been vaccinated, is to continue wearing masks. The second rule – go and be vaccinated. Whoever is over 50, and those younger as well, should do so immediately. Only this way will we be able to stop the spread of the pandemic.”

“Today, we in the Cabinet will discuss proposals regarding the opening of the education system. We will hear from the senior Health and Education ministry officials, to make a careful and prudent decision, which will, on the one hand, allow the start of pre-school education and – on the other – will reduce the danger of mass infection which could claim many more victims.”

“We will consider our steps according to the balance between vaccinations and morbidity, and we will make appropriate decisions. We must act responsibly. We all anticipate such decisions and the public expects this of us as well.”

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said at the meeting, “I'm happy about the responsible reopening we had this morning and I think we should continue to open but responsibly. In this matter, I think we can find the common language that is required with an emphasis on early childhood education, with which we can begin to move forward and make it easier for families without taking very big risks.”

Gantz called on the citizens of Israel to get vaccinated against the virus. “This is the key to continuing our ability to continue to open the economy. I have no doubt at all that we can get to a point where hotels, museums and gyms can open under some conditions, because these are places where there is control over who enters, but we need people to go get vaccinated for that. That is why the call ‘go get vaccinated’ is in my eyes a call that is very appropriate.”

"It is very important that everyone who serves the public - teachers, doctors, medical staff, merchants who interact with others, get the vaccinations as quickly as possible," the Defense Minister added.