יולי אדלשטיין ובני גנץ
Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein
Photo: Alex Kolomoisky, Shmulik Dudfor, Barel Efraim, Kobi Koanes
A mall in Petah Tikva

Ministers spar over trade reopening as cabinet set to reconvene

Blue & White pushing for fast-tracked approval of 'Green Pass' outline which will see culture and trade industry reopen to vaccinated Israelis only; Edelstein argues that 'feverish push' to reopen was what lead to deaths in previous lockdowns

Itamar Eichner, i24NEWS |
Published: 02.14.21 , 10:58
Ministers continued to be at loggerheads over further easing of lockdown restrictions, as the coronavirus cabinet was set to meet later on Sunday.
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  • The government last week began discussions on approval of the "Green Pass" outline that's supposed to see culture and trade industries reopen for Israelis who had been inoculated with both vaccine shots.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    קניון פתח תקווה פתח בניגוד להנחיות. שוטרים מחלקים קנסות
    קניון פתח תקווה פתח בניגוד להנחיות. שוטרים מחלקים קנסות
    A mall in Petah Tikva
    (Photo: Yair Sagi)
    According to the outline presented to ministers by coronavirus czar, Prof. Nachman Ash, the first stage of reopening is set for Feb. 23 and will see grades 5-6 and 11-12 return to schools and street shops resume operations.
    This stage also includes the reopening of malls, shopping centers, gyms, cultural and sports venues - including limited live shows - museums, galleries, libraries and hotels with no dining areas.
    The final stage, which is set to begin on Mar. 9, will see grades 7-10 return to schools in all low- to mid-level infection municipalities. Cafes and small restaurants will also reopen to all public, including those not vaccinated.
    Entry to restaurants (with a prior reservation), hotels with dining areas, event halls, attractions and conferences will still only be permitted to those holding a green passport.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    בני גנץ
    בני גנץ
    Defense Minister Benny Gantz
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
    Defense Minister Benny Gantz and his Blue & White party are pushing to fast-track the reopening effort, arguing that business owners and parents have suffered long enough under restrictive lockdown rules and quarantine.
    But, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party have advocated for a much slower rollout plan, gradually reopening different economic and social sectors every nine days out of fear that infection numbers may jump again.
    Blue & White lawmakers were pushing for the first phase to be implemented this week, accusing Netanyahu of delaying the easing of restrictions to push the roll out closer to the Mar. 23 elections. Gantz emphasized that in the coming days Israel will see over three million people vaccinated with both doses, a prerequisite for this stage of the outline.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    יולי אדלשטיין
    יולי אדלשטיין
    Health Minister Yuli Edelstein
    (Photo: Kobi Koanes)
    Health Minister Yuli Edelstein from Likud said that he will oppose the fast-tracked reopening, claiming that Blue & White's demands are "what killed us in the previous lockdowns and everybody understands this."
    "The problem with the previous closures was the feverish push to reopen the economy and they keep insisting on it [this time]," he said.
    As of Sunday morning, some 3,820,505 Israelis have been jabbed with at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, with 2,453,631 receiving both shots.
    Edelstein said that the ministry is examining legal options to make regular testing mandatory for people who are working with crowds, but emphasized that there will be no mandatory vaccination.
    i24NEWS contributed to this article
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