Israel’s Likud and Blue and White parties traded barbs following a meeting of top officials on Tuesday, each blaming the other of playing politics instead of focusing on the coronavirus pandemic.
“The irresponsibility of Blue and White will inevitably lead to a full closure and an unnecessary economic price,” a senior Likud official said, according to Israeli media reports.
At the meeting, which focused on the country’s response to the pandemic, Israel’s National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat proposed that the government close down synagogues, yeshivahs, public pools, gyms, summer camps and restaurants.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who is currently in quarantine and participated in the meeting via a video connection, opposed the restrictions, arguing that while the government had to act, further restrictions were not the right move at this time.
When the meeting ended without an agreement having been reached, a senior Likud official said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was furious with “Gantz and [his party] Blue and White, who for political reasons are failing to take the necessary steps to stop the disease.”
A senior Blue and White official said in response, “This is not the time for politics. It is better to concentrate on transferring money to the [bank] accounts of the self-employed who are still waiting for [Netanyahu].”
At Tuesday’s meeting, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said that unless Israel’s surging COVID-19 figures drop within the next three days, the Cabinet will have to initiate a full shutdown when it meets on Sunday.