Israel Roundup — Coalition Collapsing, COVID Concerns?

  • The government has until August 25 to make a budget
  • Netanyahu is being accused of delaying the biannual budge because of political reasons
  • The level of Covid infections in Israel warrants lockdown but it is being postponed

After three elections, Israel was not able to reach a majority coalition of 61 mandates. Under the pressure of Coronavirus, it was able to reach a compromise between the two largest parties: Blue and White and Likud. Benny Gantz broke off from Blue and White to join in with Likud.

Religious party members in the coalition are trying to bring Netanyahu and Gantz together to make the budget.

Blue and White had been an alliance of three center-left parties: Yesh Atid, Telem, and Gantz’s party, the Israel Resilience Party. He joined in with Likud to make a unified, emergency coalition government. From the day of formation, it is required for the new government to pass a budget within 90 days, which will fall out on August 25.

Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are having difficulty agreeing on the new budget. Prime Minister Netanyahu has been pushing for a short term, three month budget plan ,while Defense Minister Gantz has maintained that the budget should be biannual, as stipulated in the coalition agreement.

The members of the coalition government from Shas and United Torah Judaism, the religious parties, are trying to bring the two sides together to avoid fourth elections. Gantz is blaming Netanyahu for threatening to cause the government to be dissolved because of the inability to pass an annual budget.

The rate of contagion of Coronavirus has grown rapidly in Israel after opening up the economy. Professor Roni Gamzu was appointed to the position of coronavirus czar to make important decisions for the Ministry of Health about the lockdown.

According to the level of contagion today in Israel, other nations have already readopted lockdown. In order to contain the social and economic problems created by the pandemic, Professor Gamzu is against lockdown measures, and still hopes that measures of social distancing and wearing masks will be enough to contain the infection.

Israeli comedian Yossi Gavni plays the role of “Covidon” in a video meant to educate Israels about the coronavirus.

Israel has divided the nation in localities according to the degree of infection, called the “traffic light plan.” Red is for highly-infected areas, with Orange and Green areas for lower infection rates. Hopefully, in this way, another lockdown can be avoided on the whole population, as it was in the beginning of the breakout.

The Ministry of Health published a video illustrating a 19 year old man by the name of Covidon, who lives in central Israel, after coming from the Chinese city of Wuhan.  In the ad, it is implied that Covidon is here to spread the virus, taking the viewer through a host of real-life scenarios in which the pathogen can be transmitted to other people.

Covidon says in this video “even though he comes from China, he works fine.”  The Chinese government in Israel considered this video mocking Chinese products imported to Israel, and causing shame on Beijing.  The Israeli ambassador to China was forced to ask Yuli Edelstein, the Minister of Health, to take down this video, which received millions of views prior to its removal.

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David Wexelman

Author of 5 books on the internet on topics of Jewish mysticism, managing two websites.

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