Israel Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Liberman on Friday morning posted on his Facebook page: “We don’t know yet how the Likud-Blue&White coalition negotiations will turn out, but one thing is clear, Litzman must not continue to serve as Health Minister.
Liberman shared an earlier post by television host Avri Gilad, who wrote: “If last night’s broadcast about Litzman is true, then he is a biological terrorist. With his actions, he allegedly promoted the spread of this damned infectious virus in his community, too, a community for which he made exceptions regarding the precautionary rules time and again, and the entire row of Israel’s leadership is now entering isolation because of him. No suspense film in the world could imagine such a thing. A health minister who does everything to spread a deadly virus, and succeeds.”
Gilad was referring to a News 12 exposé aired Thursday night, showing how Health Minister Yaakov Litzman defied his own office’s guidelines and participated in lengthy minyan prayers in enclosed environments with Gerrer Hasidim. He then went out and infected dozens of high level Israeli officials, as The Jewish Press Online reported Thursday (Minister Litzman Contracted COVID-19, Gerrer Rebbe, Belzer Rebbe, Mossad Chief Quarantined).
We wrote: “It looks like Yaakov Litzman has functioned as the Typhoid Miriam of this pandemic, sending to quarantine many in Israel’s political and communications leadership.”
A senior health ministry official reacted strongly to the exposé and told N12: “If the facts are true it is shocking. Who has ever seen such a thing – a minister who goes against his own office’s guidelines? Terrible. Litzman is one man who should no longer be in charge of the health portfolio.”
Several MKs were critical of the Health Ministry for failing to disclose the epidemiological test of Minister Litzman, who has met so many politicians in the past two weeks. To which the same health ministry official responded on N12: “Regarding his epidemiological test results, like every test, it must be transparent to the public. It’s unclear to me why it has not been published so far.”
The official explained the deference to Litzman: “People are shaking with fear of him and won’t speak up because he is vindictive. Many health ministry employees think his last term was unworthy.”
Last week, N12 ran another report based on claims made by anonymous health ministry staff that all along Minister Litzman has been acting against the interest of his office, always giving priority to the instructions of his spiritual leader, the Gerrer Rebbe, on keeping synagogues and mikvahs open, permitting Belgian nationals into Israel (Antwerp, Belgium, is a major Hasidic center), and failing to limit Purim celebrations.
Some of the congregants in the Beit Israel synagogue near the minister’s residence told N12: “Litzman was in the synagogue last Monday and attended a minyan in a private home on Shabbat.”
Those prayers allegedly took place well after the Health Ministry had banned prayers in enclosed places and in synagogues.
The health minister strongly denies those allegations.
The Movement for Quality Government on Thursday called on the Prime Minister to fire Minister Litzman that very evening, stating: “A health minister who violates the emergency provisions that the office he is heading has issued, while putting himself and others in jeopardy, has no place in government.”