חיים קנייבסקי ורוני גמזו
Israel's coronavirus czar Prof. Ronni Gamzu and Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky
Photo: Dana Kopel
Israel's coronavirus czar Prof. Ronni Gamzu and Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky

Coronavirus czar apologizes for criticizing senior ultra-Orthodox rabbi

Prof. Ronni Gamzu says Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky did not, as reported by ultra-Orthodox publication, tell yeshiva students to avoid all coronavirus testing, after claiming Haredi leader was endangering public health

Itay Blumenthal |
Published: 09.07.20 , 18:19
Israel's coronavirus czar Prof. Ronni Gamzu apologized on Monday for criticism he made last week about senior ultra-Orthodox Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky.
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  • Kanievsky was reported by an ultra-Orthodox publication that he told yeshiva students not to get tested for the coronavirus, prompting a rebuke from Gamzu who warned he was endangering public health.
    חיים קנייבסקי ורוני גמזוחיים קנייבסקי ורוני גמזו
    Israel's coronavirus czar Prof. Ronni Gamzu and Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky
    (Photo: Dana Kopel)
    Gamzu's rebuke caused an uproar amongst the ultra-Orthodox community, with several local and official leaders calling for his resignation.
    The apology came several hours after his planned visit to coronavirus control center in the predominantly Haredi city of Bnei Brak was canceled.
    "I regret the misunderstanding as a result of the biased publication of the remarks of Rabbi Kanievsky, whom I respect and admire, and take back what I said," Gamzu said.
    חמ"ל הקורונה בעיריית בני ברקחמ"ל הקורונה בעיריית בני ברק
    Bnei Brak's coronavirus control center
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    “I checked it and it seems Rabbi Kanievsky never gave an instruction not to get checked, but was rather a decision based on the opinion of several rabbis for specific cases of yeshiva students in closed capsules, who had already taken coronavirus tests, and in accordance with policies that were set in advance.”
    Commenting on the high infection rate in Israel, Gamzu said: "The battle against coronavirus is a national effort and I am determined to bring down morbidity by any means possible."
    He added: "I was asked by the Knesset’s Law, Justice and Constitution Committee to increase the number of tests in Bnei Brak and other ultra-Orthodox cities, and already today drive-in complexes and inspection centers will open in all these cities. Increasing the amount of tests is essential for truncating the infection chains."

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