Bennett family
Bennett family Ariel Zandberg

Following Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's announcement about his family's vacation abroad despite his request that citizens refrain from flying abroad in the wake of the Omicron variant, it turns out that the Prime Minister's Office tried to prevent the Prime Minister’s wife, Gilat Bennett, and their children from flying abroad.

Channel 12 News reported on Wednesday that the Prime Minister's Office asked Gilat Bennett to cancel the flight, but she refused to do so.

Aides to the Prime Minister understand that the incident "does not look good" and even "hurts public trust", especially given anger from ministers over the fact that they were forced to cancel their flights, hence the request that the Prime Minister’s wife not take the vacation.

Bennett responded to the uproar earlier on Wednesday and said his family "is subject to exactly the same rules that apply to all Israeli citizens. I understand the criticism, but since Friday we have learned more about the variant and in which countries it is spread, and the Coronavirus Cabinet has made decisions on which countries to travel and under what conditions."

Bennett also wrote on Facebook, "My family (without me, I am staying with you ...) was supposed to go on vacation during the Hanukkah holiday in a country that turned out to be red. The holiday was immediately canceled, and after the new rules became clear, they booked a holiday to a country to which it is permitted to travel. Everyone goes out according to all the restrictions and of course will stay in isolation as required. The citizens of Israel are just as important to me as my children."

Just this past Friday, Bennett recommended that Israelis refrain from flying abroad over concerns about the new COVID-19 variant that is spreading around the world.

MK Yisrael Katz (Likud) criticized the Bennett’s family's trip on Wednesday and wrote that "after advising Israeli citizens not to fly abroad - Bennett's wife and children take off for a vacation abroad. This is how it is when political lies became the norm and personal example is trampled on. Such chutzpah."

After Bennett published his response to the criticism, Katz wrote, "Bennett's explanation for his family's trip abroad, contrary to the warnings he gave to the public, is worse than the act itself. 'Since Friday we learned more about the variant'. So why did you not update the public and not change the recommendation? Zero credibility."