The government on Sunday approved the limited coronavirus cabinet, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Deputy Prime Minister Beny Gantz, and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, Finance Minister Israel Katz, Public Security minister Amir Ohana, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, Minister of Science and Technology Yizhar Shai, Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn, Economy Minister Amir Peretz and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri.
Transport Minister Yaakov Litzman, who will not be a member of the new forum but only an observer, voted against the decision and left the meeting angrily.
In addition, the government approved the great “grant for almost everyone” program. It remains to be seen how exactly it’ll be carried out.
“Afterwards, we will pass it on to the Knesset for lightning legislation so that the money reaches you, citizens of Israel, as quickly as possible,” PM Netanyahu told his cabinet ministers Sunday. “We are also working on additional plans to encourage the economy and channel funds to those who have been hurt by the coronavirus. We will continue to move the wheels of the economy in order to put people back to work.”
Education Minister Yoav Galant also asked to join the coronavirus cabinet, arguing, “I am relevant to the issue and I do not want to hear about the decisions from the media.”
His request was denied.
“The second wave of the coronavirus is hitting the entire world, including Israel,” PM Netanyahu told his cabinet. “We are continuing to act with full force to block the spread of the pandemic.”
“Over the weekend, we appointed Prof. Ronni Gamzu as national coronavirus project manager,” Netanyahu continued. “During the week, Prof. Gamzu will present an action plan for severing the chain of infection, and the IDF will have a significant role in this important mission. I asked Prof. Gamzu to also present a long-term national action plan for routine life in the time of coronavirus and he will present it to the Cabinet and afterwards to the public, of course.”
“But I would like to emphasize – there are no magic solutions,” Netanyahu cautioned. “Without personal responsibility from every one of you, citizens of Israel, there will be no possibility of blocking the virus. I must say that I see an improvement in behavior, but more needs to be done. Wearing masks, maintaining personal distance, hygiene and avoiding gatherings, will defeat the pandemic.”
Finally, “Regarding the northern front, we are acting according to our consistent policy of not allowing Iran to entrench militarily on our northern border,” the PM said. “Lebanon and Syria bear the responsibility for any attack against Israel emanating from their territories. We will not allow our security to be undermined; neither will we allow our citizens to be threatened. We will not tolerate attacks on our forces. Together with the Defense Minister and the Chief-of-Staff, I am holding ongoing assessments of the situation. The IDF is prepared to respond to any threat.”