GantzElad Malka

Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz today opened the Blue and White faction meeting referring to the increase in coronavirus morbidity in recent days.

"I'd first like to welcome the decision by the Health Ministry and Minister Yuli Edelstein, in accordance with what was agreed on in the Corona Cabinet and as I emphasized during consultations over the weekend, to initiate a proactive increase in testing at risk centers. For us to enter the coronavirus routine, we must also adopt a 'targeted treatment' policy to identify the problem and deal with it,” Gantz said.

"I also instructed the Defense Ministry to bolster assistance in the realm of testing and, if necessary, also open more coronavirus hotels in line with developments. We will perform the inspection and detection process and it's important to perform them along with an effective enforcement policy, and at the same time explaining in a way that allows people to understand what they need to do to open for business, but to do so with due caution. I appeal at this opportunity to the citizens of Israel - follow the guidelines!"

Gantz reacted to protest against the "Coronavirus Law", saying, "The Justice Department is currently conducting work to regulate the government's emergency coronavirus operations as required by the Judiciary. We will ensure that there are no draconian guidelines, police will not search arbitrarily, there will be no harm to the right to demonstrate or to court activities, and using guidelines will be timely and properly monitored by the Knesset.

"I hear there are anxieties among the public about going into dark areas; we won't allow violation of individual rights. A law that doesn't adhere to the principles I outlined will not advance. It won't arise ever. We are continuing to work on the outline and are currently improving it with the professionals led by the Justice Minister, and the updated version will be released to the public soon, which fits the reality and guards the public," Gantz promised.

Gantz defended the defense and law enforcement system after the Netanyahu family's attorney yesterday reported on a new investigation into the Prime Minister's residence. "Yesterday, I also met with Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit. Apart from the professional issues we discussed about the government and Defense Ministry, I saw fit to point out to him and I repeat it here: Blue and White is committed to maintaining the rule of law. We give the judiciary and the enforcement agencies all the backup they need to work and perform their duties properly. I have complete confidence in a system made up of loyal public servants. We'll make sure they stay strong and secure for Israeli democracy and Israeli citizens. We will continue to back them up with deeds and all the tools at our disposal.

"On the security issue, over the past two weeks I held a number of security discussions on the background of the certain increase in terror incidents and terror activity in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip, and the cessation of security coordination," noted Gantz.

Gantz emphasized that, "at the same time as the political track on which we are working with the Prime Minister and his team and other international officials, most notably the U.S. government, on promoting the peace plan, pursuing peace while maintaining security is part of the basic pillar of every citizen in Israel and of Blue and White in a concrete way. Despite this, we understand that we're in an explosive environment, so I instructed the Chief of Staff and defense establishment to examine the meanings and preparations required for any possible effects of these processes on the theater, and to present a number of outlines to suit the different scenarios.

"President Trump's peace plan is an opportunity to regulate and promote permanent borders for the State of Israel. We're currently working to promote it while maintaining our strategic assets, cooperation with the countries of the region, and of course we'll ensure the security of Israeli citizens," Gantz closed.