The Health Ministry has assigned a bodyguard to Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, head of the ministry’s Public Health Services division after she received death threats. Her home had already been secured with special arrangements and equipped her home with a panic button.
“The Health Ministry is working in close cooperation with the Israel Police,” the ministry said in a statement Saturday night, “and all the threats reported against the ministry’s employees in general are being examined and addressed in accordance with situation assessments.”
The threats on Alroy-Preis’ life came from anti-vaxxers who oppose the government’s COVID-19 vaccine policies. Other senior officials have also been threatened with violence.
“We have recently witnessed extreme statements toward health care workers coming from opponents of the actions being taken by the state to eradicate the coronavirus, most prominently from vaccine opponents,” Health Ministry Director-General Professor Nachman Ash said in the statement. Abusive statements and personal attacks against medical personnel on social networks, he said, sometimes exceed “legitimate discussion” and could “impair the resilience of the system’s workers.”
To address the rising danger to its health personnel and those around the country, the Health Ministry’s National Security Department also set up a 24/7 hotline for personnel to report defamation and intimidation, The Jerusalem Post reported Sunday.
The hotline, set up earlier this month, was announced to health and medical personnel through a letter they received on October 19 from Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Nachman Ash. The letter was released to the public this past Saturday night.
But it’s not just officials at the Health Ministry who are facing increased threats in their jobs: according to a report by Israel’s Channel N12, Israel Prison Service (IPS) Commissioner Katy Perry likewise has received death threats.
A complaint was filed with Israel Police, according to the report.