Edelstein: If this plan is not accepted, there won’t be an alternative

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The government is convening Sunday morning to make a final decision about whether Israel will go into lockdown over the High Holy Days.”I will not allow the program to be negotiated,” Health Minister Yuli Edelstein stressed at the start of the meeting. “I say clearly at the beginning of this discussion: if the plan is not accepted, I will withdraw it and not bring alternative plans. “The coronavirus is neither a political or populist matter, it is a matter of life and death,” he continued. “I suggest to anyone who claims otherwise, to tour coronavirus wards and see the situation for themselves.”Edelstein’s words cam after ministers from across the spectrum made their voices heard – which indicates that there is little consensus about the plan passed last Thursday by the coronavirus cabinet.

Earlier in the day, Housing and Construction Minister Ya’acov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) announced he is resigning from the coalition, writing in his resignation letter that he believed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intended from the start to have a full lockdown during the holidays out of a lack of appreciation for religious observance in comparison to other issues that are not being harmed in the fight against coronavirus.”My heart is with the thousands of Jews who come to synagogue once a year and this year won’t come at all due to the lockdown,” Litzman wrote. “I warned against a lockdown during the holidays in every possible forum and emphasized that if there is a need for a full lockdown, it should not wait for a rise of infection to get to this pace.”He said a closure should have been carried out a month ago and not during the High Holy Days. He added that when he made his original plea to coronavirus commissioner Prof. Ronni Gamzu, the commissioner denied that this was his intention. Litzman said that in retrospect he was proven correct.“That is why I cannot continue to serve as a minister and I decided to resign from the government and return to the Knesset,” he concluded.Via the Norwegian Law, Litzman quit the Knesset and was replaced by the next candidate on the UTJ list, Eliyahu Baruchi, who will automatically leave the Knesset when Litzman’s resignation letter becomes official. Netanyahu responded that he respects Litzman and his decision.”We have to move forward and make the necessary decisions needed for Israel during the coronavirus era, and that is what we will do at this meeting,” he told ministers at the start of the cabinet meeting.The resignation would take effect in 48 hours.Litzman is not the only minister who has spoken out against the closure. Others, such as Science & Technology Minister Izhar Shay (Blue and White) and Economy Minister Amir Peretz (Labor), say the harm to the Israeli economy will be too severe for the country to recover. 

But Edelstein has said…



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