Israeli police recommend charges against corona-infected cabinet minister who broke rules

Gila Gamliel is under police probe amidst calls to resign after she violated lockdown regulations and got infected.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Israel’s State Prosecutor’s office received a police report Tuesday and will weigh the preliminary evidence to see if it agrees with the police that Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel should be charged for violating lockdown restrictions that resulted in her getting infected with the coronavirus.

Gamliel, a veteran member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, tweeted over the weekend that she had tested positive and later admitted to authorities that she broke the one-kilometer travel restriction by driving from her home in Tel Aviv to Tiberias in the Galilee for Yom Kippur, a roughly 130-kilometer trip.

There were calls for her resignation after Gamliel reportedly failed to tell Health Ministry officials who were performing a standard epidemiological investigation to determine where she might have become infected. She at first hid the fact that she had been in a Tiberias synagogue where her father-in-law is the rabbi.

Science Minister Yizhar Shai of the coalition Blue and White Party said if the allegations against Gamliel are true, she should step down.

“If things are as they are – they are very serious. I expect the minister to take responsibility for herself and not wait for someone to tell her what to do and resign,” Shai told Kan Radio.

Opposition Knesset member Mickey Levy of Yesh Atid resigned his position on the government’s powerful coronavirus committee after it became known that he also violated the lockdown restrictions.

“I apologize to the public from the bottom of my heart,” Levy tweeted. “Without going into such and such details, my conduct was inappropriate,” he said, adding that he would pay the requisite fine.

Levy, the former commander of the Jerusalem police, also issued a collective mea culpa, saying “our job as elected officials is to set an example and follow the guidelines in full.”

In Gamliel’s case, the police forwarded material regarding her conduct to the Ministry of Justice, because an investigation of a cabinet minister requires the approval of the attorney general.

At Monday evening’s cabinet meeting, Netanyahu addressed the Gamliel issue, but said he would wait until the end of the investigation before drawing conclusions.

“We are all committed to complying with the rules, both for gatherings and for other rules related to the corona routine,” Netanyahu said. “This includes ministers and members of the Knesset, all representatives of the public.”