Education Minister to parents: I apologize, health is important

Education Minister addresses parents after cabinet meeting, apologizes for the fact that schools will remain closed a little while longer.

Ido Ben Porat ,

Yoav Galantz
Yoav Galantz
Olivier Fitoussi/Flash 90

Education Minister Yoav Galant on Sunday night released a video in which he directly addressed parents in Israel after the cabinet meeting concluded without agreement on reopening schools.

"In light of the gloomy picture presented by experts about the spread of the virus, we will need to reassess the situation across the country, including in the education system," Galant said.

"I placed an emphasis on the importance of maintaining the health of the students, and of course preventing the disease. We have a difficult war against coronavirus, and together with the variants it is becoming more difficult.”

“In this case, we will do whatever it takes, and that may delay our return to school. I apologize for this, I understand your situation. We have to overcome this disease, and then we will do what is necessary," Galant concluded.

The cabinet had 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.”