Former IDF chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot
Former IDF chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot
Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
Empty shelves at an Israeli supermarket after people stocked up on necessities

Wanted: A dedicated official to handle Israel's coronavirus crisis

Opinion: It is not place of Health Ministry to tell public when and how much to shop for food while government lacks proper crisis management; ex-IDF chief Gadi Eisenkot has the experience needed to coordinate all aspects of the battle after his years in service

Yossi Yehoshua |
Published: 03.21.20 , 09:39
On Saturday afternoon, in the midst of Shabbat, Health Ministry Director General Moshe Bar-Siman-Tov issued a statement calling on the public not to rush to supermarkets and stock up.
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  • "There is no need for that, and supermarkets will remain open no matter what," Bar-Siman-Tov announced as he asked the public to behave responsibly.
    The director-general has been the voice of calm and has carried out his duties well, but is it the place of the Health Ministry to determine if and when food stores will be open in a national emergency? No, of course not.
    קניון איילוןקניון איילון
    Empty shelves at an Israeli supermarket after people stocked up on necessities
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    Managing a crisis such as the one presented by the coronavirus has revealed a gap in the national leadership.
    This is not a military threat, but it demands an overview and understanding of all government functions, including the Defense Ministry and the military with an emphasis on securing the home front.
    Experts say we are facing a long-term crisis that now appears too big for the Health Ministry and the National Security Council to deal with despite all of their efforts.
    It is not too late. The government must put in place a mechanism to coordinate all of its ministries' needs as well as deal with questions of jurisdiction and responsibility as they arise.
    מרכזי קניות ריקיםמרכזי קניות ריקים
    A restaurant in Israel is closed due to the spread of the coronavirus
    (Photo: AP)
    Let us be clear: The Health Ministry and its staff have been doing an excellent job and as of Sunday morning, we just passed the 200 mark for people infected with the coronavirus.
    Unfortunately, that number will grow along with the impact on society, and this is the time to prepare a function for inter-ministerial coordination that has a broad scope to address needs, respond to public concerns and prepare for all future scenarios.
    בית ספר יסודי ב רמת גןבית ספר יסודי ב רמת גן
    A deserted elementary school near Tel Aviv
    (Photo: AP)
    Now is the time to enlist the help of former IDF chief Gadi Eizenkot who currently does not hold public office and is professional and authoritative and has a good knowledge of the systems involved.
    The former military chief will likely not steal the limelight from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
    Former IDF chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot Former IDF chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot
    Former IDF chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot
    (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
    In a properly functioning county, Netanyahu would already have tapped Eisenkot to lead the crisis response team. People who have spoken to the general have said he willing to do whatever he is asked .
    The former chief of staff is well versed in managing emergencies - as he has showed during his military service - and is the right man for the job.

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