Izhar Shay
Izhar ShayNoam Revkin Fenton/Flash 90

Science and Technology Minister Izhar Shay on Monday criticized Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman’s call to the public to ignore the government’s COVID-19 guidelines and instead act using their own logic.

"I had to read it several times to believe that this statement was indeed made," Shay said in an interview on Radio 103FM.

"This is a serious and populist statement, which calls for a civil uprising in a democratic state, and it is inconceivable," he added. "I can compare it to a situation where missiles are falling, and a Knesset member calls on people not to go to shelters and not to obey the instructions of the Home Front Command."

Commenting on the issue of “red cities” on which lockdowns will be imposed, Shay said, "There is a formula published by the Ministry of Health according to which each and every locality is examined. After that, talks are held with each of the localities and then it is decided whether they enter the list or not. The formula does not differentiate between types of cities and populations, but localities have the opportunity to make arguments. For example, the head of the committee in Tiberias proposed an alternative outline and excluded some of the neighborhoods in the city, and this was accepted by the team of coronavirus project manager, Prof. Ronni Gamzu. The arguments brought forward by the heads of the localities are not ‘I don’t want to be on the list’ but real and professional arguments.”

"It is very important to listen to the citizens and the residents, as well as to the heads of the localities. In some cases there are arguments that are very logical, and in the end they should be taken into consideration. The law works so that the residents' pain should be heard," stressed Shay.

On the financial implications of imposing lockdowns on red cities, Shay said, "We are working hard on trying to figure out an outline that will make it easy on the economy. People are making a living, and we need to take care of everyone. The war here is also about the economy, not just about health."