Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz
Health Minister Nitzan HorowitzAvshalom Sassoni/Flash90

One of my main goals in managing the epidemic is protecting the education system. In my opinion, it is critical that students have regular classes. The lockdown of education by the Netanyahu government was immensely destructive and we are still recovering from the huge damage caused by that terrible decision.

This morning, we launched a new system involving obligatory testing of all students to be conducted twice a week. This system will enable us to release students from quarantine. Those who are not tested according to the guidelines will not be able to benefit from the cancellation of quarantine. When managing an epidemic, no decision is ever a simple one, but I have no doubt that this is the right decision to make, one which safeguards both health and education and the normal daily routines of millions of Israeli students.

This new outline was formulated by senior expert officials in the Health and Education Ministries and is supported by the best of our professional advisers. It is a balanced outline that takes everything into consideration and effectively prevents the education system from closing down in broad swathes of the country.

As with all decisions of this nature, there are a variety of opinions on the subject. If any of the professionals in my Ministry did not present his own opinion, he would not be a professional. It is inevitable that not all positions can be adopted, and there is nothing wrong with that whatsoever.

To my regret, yet again lies are being circulated, directed against Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis [head of Public Health Services in the Health Ministry]. Sharon did not approach anyone with regard to this new outline, nor did she pressure anyone. As with other headlines in the past, so too this time – to put it mildly – what has been written is not accurate with regard to the facts. Sharon presented her opinions to me as well as to the other decision-makers, in a clear and professional manner – as is her obligation – and that is the reason why her opinions are highly valued.

There are people who see publishing lies against her and attacking her as being to their political advantage, an easy way to achieve populist headlines. However, this damages the collective interest of all of us – which is to fight the coronavirus and bolster the healthcare system.

So, just to make it clear: Prof. Ash, Dr. Alroy-Preis, Prof. Zarka, and all the other staff of the Health Ministry have my full support. Every one of them will continue to present his views and also to fulfill his duties to the public. And, just as we weathered the Delta wave successfully, so too will we get through the Omicron wave.

My best wishes to all Israeli students for success in all their studies, and have a good weekend.

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz