Following uproar, Liberman to attend Coronavirus Cabinet meetings

Finance Minister to attend the Coronavirus Cabinet discussions after it was revealed that both he and Lapid had chosen not to take part.

Ben Ariel ,

Avigdor Liberman
Avigdor Liberman
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman has decided to attend the Coronavirus Cabinet discussions after Kan 11 News revealed that both Liberman and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid had chosen not to attend the meetings.

Unlike Lapid, Liberman does not "in principle" object to attending the meetings. It is still unclear whether he will regularly participate in the discussions or just once in a while.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett responded earlier on Thursday to the absence of the ministers, saying that the Coronavirus Cabinet discussions "are conducted in an orderly and effective manner. We are fully coordinated, the Foreign Minister, the Finance Minister and myself - also on matters related to coronavirus."

On his Facebook page, Liberman wrote in response to the report, "As someone who believes in systematic and orderly work, I already in the first week divided the responsibilities between me and Minister Hamad Amar, the other minister in the Ministry of Finance. Minister Amar represents the Ministry of Finance in the Coronavirus Cabinet, and I do so in the Political-Security Cabinet. Minister Amar is a member in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation and I am a member of the Ministerial Committee on the Arrangements Law."

"Within the ministry, I focus on formulating the budget and the Arrangements Law and passing them in the Knesset, and Minister Amar coordinates all contact with the Palestinian Authority and activities with the Arab, Druze and Circassian sectors. This is the division between us, this is how it has been conducted so far in an excellent way and this is how it will be conducted in the future. In contrast to previous COVID-19 waves, Minister Amar and I advocate an approach in which the current crisis must be led by the professional echelon and the political leadership must back up its recommendations."

Lapid wrote similar things in a statement on Wednesday evening, saying that the Coronavirus Cabinet is a body that makes decisions and therefore it is desirable that its composition be as small and relevant as possible.

He added: "The Foreign Minister does not have to be part of the Coronavirus Cabinet discussions and it is better to have the Tourism Minister there instead of me, because the cabinet decisions have a direct impact on the tourism market."

"Even as the Alternate Prime Minister, I do not need to be there because the current Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, is managing the coronavirus crisis in an exceptional manner. Calmly, with a balanced attitude, while listening to the professionals. While there is a sharp rise in infections and deaths all around the world, Prime Minister Bennett is the right person in the right place,” said Lapid.