Opinion: On the one hand, lawmakers claim they don’t allow personal and political considerations to affect their decisions on health curbs, but on the other, they send a lot of mixed messages that undermine public’s trust

When you look at the meetings of coronavirus cabinet meetings, senior government officials and health experts, there are two conclusions.

Firstly, in contrast to the infighting between the Likud and Blue and White parties in Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, political considerations do not appear to affect decision making of the current coalition.

COVID pandemic made the public tired and confused
COVID pandemic made the public tired and confused (Photo: Yotam Fishbain)


The second conclusion is there are no clear policies, no major decision making, and no clear messages emerging from this government, in other words, they are dealing with major issues unsuccessfully and waste valuable time.

It’s true that there are objective circumstances: The public is tired, confused by the new variants, and no longer certain the miracle vaccine that appeared in our lives a year after the COVID pandemic hit, will be the one that will save humanity from the Omicron variant.

The vaccination campaign is not necessarily the failure of the government, but more the triumph of the uncertainty over the Israeli public, which is still confused on how to handle itself after almost two years of the draining pandemic.

Unfortunately for Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, the burden of proof on how Israel will deal with the Omicron crisis is on him. This is no longer the Delta wave, not something he has inherited from the previous government, and not an ongoing event with known patterns of action. The Omicron strain acts like a new pathogen and therefore the government is powerless against it.

ישיבת ממשלה
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett


Bennett was able to show leadership and he took a smart bet when he decided to open up the country and the economy in the midst of the Delta wave. It is unclear why now he is uncertain on how to act, and why unrealistic ideas are being thrown into the air as potential means to handle the pandemic.

For the first time since the establishment of this government, Bennett is in a tough spot. Not as a result of political considerations, but due to the independence of each minister. Not because any of them are thinking of making political bank out of the Omicron situation, but more due to the uncertainty they feel themselves.

The ministers no longer show extreme generosity in allocation of compensation packages to those affected by COVID, as was done by the government of Netanyahu.

Ministers Eli Avidar and Avigdor Liberman (without any planned coordination between them) said they see Omicron as nothing more than flu, and demanded to treat it accordingly. Liberman spoke about the alleged small number of deaths linked to Omicron around the world, but the data he presented was not accurate and removed from reality.

ישיבת ממשלה
Cabinet meeting (Photo: Emil Salman)


Meanwhile, Bennett, who had the courage to reopen the economy during the Delta wave, is sending out distress signals, treating the new variant with extreme caution (some may say too much caution).

You can say that in the first six months of this government, it haven’t had a crisis as serious as the Omicron one.

The public has yet to show their trust in government decisions, and the road to achieving that is going to be a long one.

As reported by Ynetnews