Israel’s corona czar: Arabs ‘attack’ Israel by flouting health rules

Israel’s corona czar faced a backlash from Arab politicians after he said they nearly committed an attack by flouting the health rules. 

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Israel’s corona czar Ronni Gamzu accused Arab-Israelis of almost committing an attack that would have led to many patients by ignoring health regulations, in a Sunday interview with Ynet.

“The Arab sector in the last two weeks, after the Eid al-Adha holiday, almost made an attack that would have resulted in hundreds of sick,” Ronni Gamzu said. The Arabs take part in “gatherings, riots, parties,” and show “complacency, apathy – thinking coronavirus won’t hurt them,” he said.

Gamzu said the epidemic hit Arab society “like a mass attack.”

Gamzu’s call was meant as a cry for help from the local Arab authorities to speak to their people.

“You will do this much better than the central government,” he said. “Do not wait for the central government. Get help from the Home Front Command, from resources from us. Only in this way can morbidity be reduced.”

However, the corona czar’s unfortunate use of the term “mass attack” was taken as an insult by Israeli-Arab leaders.

Arab Joint List part leader Ayman Odeh, said, “It is a pity that while Arab doctors are at the forefront of the struggle against the coronavirus, the commissioner comes out with a statement that harms an entire society.”

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“Instead of making such unfortunate statements, I invite him to work together to defeat the plague,” Odeh said.

Knesset Member Aida Touma-Suleiman, also of the Joint List, told Ynet, “No one has used such a term on all the people who are at the beach, or in cafes in Jaffa and Tel Aviv. No one has called them perpetrators. When you say attack, it means as if the people deliberately want to harm,” she said.

Gamzu apologized for his comments, saying he wanted to clarify that by “mass attack” he was referring to the virus hitting Arab society and not to Arab society itself. Gamzo said he apologized if his words were misunderstood.