Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu praised Israel's response to the coronavirus crisis in an interview with 103FM, "Our situation is good relative to other countries, but no one is really well off. This is the worst plague in 100 years."
Netanyahu reiterated that a general lockdown would go into effect on Passover eve. "Yesterday we banned travel from local municipalities to reduce movement from cities and concentration of families for Seder night. This directive will be in place until Friday. At 3:00 pm, an order preventing residents from wandering more than 100 meters of their homes will go into effect until tomorrow morning."
The closure was aimed at preventing what happened on Purim - the gathering of people outside of the direct family unit leading to infections. The aim of the measures, he said, was to "prevent things people were prone to doing out of habit—family gatherings for Pesach Seder." Netanyahu himself, of course, also indicated that he would mark the Seder with his nuclear family.
Political impasse yet to be resolved
Contrary to what some reporters believe, the political impasse of forming a unity government was not decided on Passover eve. Netanyahu said he hoped negotiations would continue at a faster pace following the holiday break.
"I hope this happens, and there is no reason for it not to" Netanyahu said in the interview. "Unfortunately, there are issues that our potential partners are having trouble respecting despite what they say, but I do not want to get into it. We need to act right now to form an emergency government. I haven't given up on that."
According to Netanyahu, "We will do what needs to be done for this government to have equal representation…Everything will mostly be equal, based on mutual agreement, other than the issue of sovereignty, which I said was important to me and that I intend to uphold. I think this can and must be understood."
Worldwide zoom expert
The Prime Minister has spent recent days in home isolation after coming in contact with Health Minister Yaakov Litzman (UTJ), who has since been diagnosed with the coronavirus.
"I work all the time," he said. "It's even harder from home than the office since someone has to constantly keep things going." "I learned how to conduct conference calls," he says. "I became a global expert on this," he says jokingly.
Asked whether he had also been effected by the egg shortage, the Prime Minister laughed it off: "I also like omelets, and was amazed by the shortage. My wife informed me that many dishes are made with eggs. Probably there is a big demand. We have challenges here in meeting quotas. We'll deal with that at another time, not now."
Leading up to the Seder night, Netanyahu said he missed family members who had passed away. "My parents, my brother Yoni, and Sarah's father. It's very difficult for us."
Netanyahu sent holiday greetings to listeners. "Remember the first Passover in which the plague passed over the houses of Israel. Do whatever it takes to make it happen this time. Remember that we were able to overcome a Pharaoh's regime then. Since then, so many have tried and failed. This time, the same will happen. It's not a conscious attempt, but a virus - but we will also overcome it."