Deputy Health Minister MK Yoav Kisch (Likud) said at Wednesday’s session of the Knesset Plenum that approved coronavirus restrictions in public transport and workplaces that in his estimate, should Israel’s morbidity rate continue to drop, “we will be able to lift the [coronavirus] restrictions entirely in three weeks” – presumably the last week in May. Kisch called it an “amazing achievement.”
According to the health ministry, there were only 100 new verified Corona patients on Wednesday, based on 36,786 test results. As of Thursday morning, there are 118 Corona patients in serious condition, of whom 65 are on respirators. A total of 6,361 died since the outbreak of the pandemic. To date, 5,399,050 have received the first dose of the vaccine, 5,081,978 the second.
During the debate, MK Yifat Shasha-Biton (New Hope) said that since “the chairman of the Arrangements Committee, MK Miki Zohar (Likud), refuses to form a corona committee, so I guess there really is no corona. So let’s annul all the restrictions.”
However, she cautioned, “if the Corona is still here, and I believe it is an event that we should still be managing, then a Corona committee should be established in the Knesset to discuss the government’s decisions and approve the regulations before they expire.”
MK Shasha-Biton, who used to be a member of the Likud party, used to be the chairwoman of the Knesset Coronavirus committee, but on July 13, 2020, she voted to reverse the Likud government’s decision to shutter pools and gyms because of fears of contagion from the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, according to Channel 12 News, Coalition whip MK Miki Zohar told her: “You are finished in the Likud party,” and added that she would be removed as chairwoman from the COVID-19 committee. However, Likud MK Gideon Sa’ar expressed his support for her and said decisions about lockdowns should be made based on data and not threats. In December 2020, she announced that she would join Sa’ar’s New Hope party, where she was given the number two slot ahead of the March 2021 elections. She kept her Knesset seat and is now pushing to revive the committee where she had earned her reputation as a dragon slayer.
Such a committee, she argued on Wednesday, would also examine whether the coronavirus regulations are reasonable and necessary. “There are fateful decisions that are about to be made, such as the issue of vaccinating children. There are many other dramatic issues on the agenda that need to be discussed in a transparent, professional, and practical manner, so that the public will know why certain decisions are reached and so that it will be able to cooperate with us,” Shasha-Biton told the Plenum.
Deputy Health Minister MK Kisch responded that the government would support the formation of a corona committee, on the condition that it would be chaired by an MK belonging to a party that supports Prime Minister MK Benjamin Netanyahu.
There’s always a catch.