Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll

Israel's deputy foreign minister tests positive for COVID after maskless New Year's bash

Yesh Atid lawmaker Idan Roll faces public backlash after footage surfaces online featuring him attending a crowded party despite his government urging citizens to avoid gatherings amid the spread of Omicron

Itamar Eichner |
Published: 01.04.22, 21:12
Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll has tested positive for coronavirus, his office announced on Tuesday, just days after he was filmed partying without a mask at a New Year's Eve party, flouting his own government's recommendation to avoid gatherings amid the spread of the Omicron variant.
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  • A spokesperson on behalf of Roll said that the Yesh Atid lawmaker was feeling well and was asymptomatic. Roll did not attend his party's faction meeting and did not meet with any other lawmakers this week.
    Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll (bottom right corner) seen dancing without a mask at a crowded New Year's Eve party
    (Video: Instagram)
    Roll said the event in question was "a closed party with a pre-arranged guest list" and no one was allowed in without an invitation. He further stated that the hotel in Caesarea in which the party took place demanded guests present proof of vaccination and a negative coronavirus test that was taken that same day.
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    השבעת הכנסת ה-24
    השבעת הכנסת ה-24
    Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll
    (Photo: Reuven Castro)
    The incriminating video was posted on Instagram by Roll’s husband — singer Harel Skaat — and sparked media uproar which prompted Skaat to quickly remove the footage.
    Subsequently, Foreign Minister and Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid gave Roll a dressing down for his behavior. Lapid's office said he told Roll that public officials must be particularly fastidious about adhering to COVID-19 guidelines to serve as an example to the public.
    Meanwhile, online users brought up an old tweet posted by Roll in the early days of the pandemic, in which he called on then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to fire his health minister, Yaakov Litzman, after the latter was caught flouting coronavirus restrictions.
    "Netanyahu, you must fire Litzman. This transcends politics, this human life," Roll wrote in March 2020 when he and his party were occupying the opposition benches in the Knesset.
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    מליאת הכנסת
    מליאת הכנסת
    Former health minister Yaakov Litzman
    (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)
    In July 2020, as coronavirus cases were on the rebound and Israel was facing the prospect of a second general lockdown, Roll called on the public to dissent and not adhere to health measures.
    "This government has broken its most fundamental contract with the public. The one that requires her to protect us in time of crisis," he wrote. "Its decisions are not based on data and are politically driven. Therefore, it has no legitimacy to enact a full lockdown and the public should not obey."
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