Responding to reports that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu offered the fifth place in the Likud to former Health Ministry Director Moshe Bar Siman Tov, Internal medicine and gastroenterology specialist and Hesder Yeshiva in Shaalvim graduate Dr. Shmuel Rochberger said "His cruel policy not only caused unimaginable suffering to millions of Israelis, but mainly increased the morbidity and mortality of the at-risk population."
Dr. Rochberger wrote: "As early as the end of March, I wrote the Health Ministry a letter (unanswered), entitled: Calling for the dismissal of Health Ministry Director Mr. Moshe Bar Simantov, who never treated a patient in his life, and yet led the health care system in Israel with an irrationalpolicy of harsh lockdowns and draconian restrictions that destroyed the economy, education, culture, and tourism in the State of Israel, and collapsed the lives of millions of Israelis."
He continued: "He did all this with opacity and without a shred of compassion for the victims of his policies, and most importantly - while stubbornly refusing to pay attention to any other policy of focusing all resources and efforts on protecting the at-risk population only.
"His cruel policy not only caused unimaginable suffering to millions of Israelis, but mainly increased the morbidity and mortality of the at-risk population, which did not and still does not receive the proper protection.
"But even then, after sending the letter, I learned from a reliable source in the Health Ministry: It is not Mr. Simantov who is leading this cruel policy, but the Prime Minister himself, who is blocking other opinions, such as mine.
"Simantov is nothing but a tool in his hands and serves only as his faithful servant to advance this cruel policy. When his fateful service ended he was even promised a mysterious future political reward. Now, the time of payment has arrived.
"'A man is known by the company he keeps.' Simantov was called to the banner, to get a seat saved on the Likud list, and continue to lead the State of Israel in an opaque, cruel, and hopeless way - a way in which any future mutation, which will be resistant to existing vaccines, will lead to a complete and immediate return of the severe lockdowns and restrictions.
"May the remnants of the previous cruel, destructive, and useless lockdowns finally collapse," concluded Dr. Rochberger.
In a September interview after leaving his position at the Ministry, Bar Simantov admitted to "errors" in COVID-19 policy, saying that "If we don’t manage to get the infection rate down significantly before winter arrives, the situation is going to get much worse.”
“Much worse?” queried the interviewer. “You do realize what that sounds like, don’t you? People can still remember what you said back then, before we locked down –that we would have thousands of people dying otherwise. And here we are now, with over a thousand dead. That’s a lot of people, of course, but there are those who would argue that the economic impact was too high a price to pay. And this is where the argument starts.”
Bar Siman Tov responded: “The regulations we imposed were designed to enable us to find a new modus vivendi with the epidemic – a way of living with coronavirus, if you will, with a price to pay in human lives that is tolerable... It’s true that we haven’t seen colossal numbers of people dying, but the numbers are going to rise."