Opposition slams Netanyahu over corona failure, lockdown

Opposition politicians decry closure as Netanyahu government failure for not taking measures earlier.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Opposition politicians on Thursday attacked the government’s decision to impose a general closure, saying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had failed in his handling of the coronavirus crisis.

“All government ministers, and especially our friends in the Blue and White [party], should ask themselves this morning what they are doing in a government that abandons the public in this way,” tweeted opposition Yesh Atid Party leader Yair Lapid.

“I believe you did not know it would be like this, but now you know. Decent people cannot stay there. You are complicit in Netanyahu’s failure,” Lapid said.

Chairwoman of the right-wing Yemina faction, Ayelet Shaked, said the repeated delays in taking action to stop the virus were a “farce” resulting in high unemployment and tremendous damage to Israel’s economy.

“The Israeli government made a devastating and irrational decision yesterday,” Shaked said, arguing that Israel’s manufacturing and construction industries need to be left working along with 30 percent of the private sector.

“Because of the demonstrations, they are sending hundreds of thousands of people into the cycle of unemployment and smashing the economy,” Shaked said, accusing Netanyahu of imposing the lockdown to stop the weekly protests near his official residence that had attracted thousands.

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The opposition politicians got extra ammunition when the the head of the national coronavirus task force, Prof. Ronni Gamzu, said the government ignored his expert advice.

“I recommended otherwise, the government decided otherwise – the economic price is huge,” Gamzu told Kan News.

Avigdor Liberman, former defense minister and head of the Israel Beiteinu Party, slammed Netanyahu for ignoring Gamzu, who is referred to in Israel as the “corona czar,” a position created to head efforts to overcome the epidemic.

“The delusional decision to impose a full closure tomorrow, contrary to the experts’ opinion, is the result of criminal conduct on the part of the government in recent months, which due to a lack of leadership and policy led us to this situation,” Liberman tweeted.

“It’s time to move from the Bibisteria of despair to solutions of hope,” Liberman said.