Nitzan Horowitz
Nitzan HorowitzAvshalom Sassoni/Flash90

Israeli Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) and Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) visited Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva together, making similar statements regarding the new COVID-19 variant.

"The situation is under control, and there is no reason to panic," Horowitz said. "We expected the entry of a new variant, we prepared for it - and we are ready."

"Even now, there is room for optimism, and there are initial indications that those who have received the booster dose will be protected from this variant as well."

Liberman added: "There is no reason to panic, and there is no reason to be complacent. We must vaccinate the entire population, but continue our lives alongside coronavirus. I am leaving here optimistic. We know what to do, and how to do it, and we will provide budgetary support for every decision which is made."

"The fact that the Health Minister and Finance Minister are both here together, and seeing things eye to eye, is a sign of the stability of both the healthcare system, the Israeli economy, and the political system."

"There is nothing like seeing something with your own eyes. We toured the hospital and you can see what a lack of planning, lack of understanding, and negligence means - and how much the South needs quality healthcare services," he emphasized. "Unlike the other governments, we place healthcare services not only at the top of our priority lists, but also at the top of our budget, because the budgets for the Health Ministry are unprecedented.".

"The decision to found two new hospitals, in the north and in the south - these are decisions which have practical force. The decision to found another hospital here in the South passed in 2014, except that they forgot to budget for it. A detailed plan will be put forward this year. As quickly as possible, we will see the second hospital founded here in Be'er Sheva, and from that moment, there will be two hospitals serving residents of the area."

Currently, between Yoseftal in Eilat, and Barzilai in Ashkelon, there is only a single hospital: Soroka, located in Be'er Sheva.

Liberman added: "Regarding the South and the Negev, with the most careful calculations we are going to invest over 50 billion shekel here in the coming years - another train, a light rail train, moving industries to Ramat Beka, founding a new hospital, founding a hi-tech park. These will turn Be'er Sheva into the true metropolis of the south."