Bennett: ‘No lockdowns, we’re keeping economy open’ as coronavirus cases spike

Bennett doubled down on remarks he made last Thursday, saying that unvaccinated people are putting the entire population at risk.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

During a weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday morning, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that his government is planning to manage a spike in positive coronavirus cases without lockdowns. He repeated his statement from last Thursday that unvaccinated people are “endangering the rest of the country.”

Referring to rolling lockdowns which occurred under former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Bennett said that the “easiest way” to manage the uptick in infections would be to go back to the “accordion policy – closing and opening, closing and opening.”

Bennett said this was “not the right way” and said that “this time, we are insisting on maintaining livelihoods, the economy, education and the freedom of Israeli citizens, the way of wearing masks, of closely watching over the older and the vulnerable, and the way of vaccinations.”

He doubled down on remarks he made last Thursday, in which he said that unvaccinated people are putting the entire population at risk.

Education Minister Yifat Shasha Biton and Health Ministry director-general Nachman Ash later criticized Bennett’s remarks, saying that they were against “attacking” people who choose not to vaccinate.

“Over one million citizens who can get vaccinated – have not yet been vaccinated and they are thereby putting the health and livelihood of all citizens of Israel at risk,” Bennett repeated during his remarks on Sunday.

“When over one billion people around the world have already been vaccinated, and in every country they see that it is very safe and effective, the time has come to take the next step – to go and get vaccinated.

“Those who get vaccinated are less sick and less contagious. Not getting vaccinated endangers you and your loved ones, especially the older population.”

Bennett also referenced the upcoming school year, saying that the government was working on a plan to safely reopen educational institutions in September.

Parents vaccinating their children would make the process “smoother,” he said.

As of Sunday afternoon, Israel’s Health Ministry reported 97 people hospitalized in serious condition with the coronavirus, with 17 people on ventilators.

On Saturday, 966 people tested positive for the virus.

There are some 11,300 active cases in the Jewish State.