Israel’s Health Minister Tests Positive For COVID-19, While Time Runs Out On Unity Government

by David Mark

In the topsy turvy reality of Israeli politics and fight against COVID-19 Israel’s health minister and his wife has tested positive for the coronavirus.

While this is not surprising itself, it has forced Prime Minister Netanyahu to once again enter isolation right when a new crisis begins to emerge. It seems that new information has led to the real possibility that 30 percents of the ultra-orthodox city of Bnei Brak has most likely contracted the coronavirus. That number would catapult Israel’s infections to well over 75,000 overnight.

This news is devastating enough, but the fact that it is one of the ultra-orthodox strongholds has stoked the anti religious flames in Israel’s hard left and secularist populations.

Of course, what makes it more complicated is the Health Minister is an ultra-orthodox politician.

Meanwhile Benny Gantz’s mandate to form a government runs out just after the beginning of Passover next week. True, his wild demands may be his undoing, but with no unity there are other challenges that are far more problematic. Gantz’s stumbles will cause the right wing to let out a sigh of relief. However, it will also push Israel back into the type of political uncertainty Gantz’s surprise move to join Bibi Netanyahu was meant to prevent.

There are rumors that Netanyahu is trying to “run out the clock” and then convince two or three MKs that had been in Gantz’s party to join him. Whether it is Gantz’s negligence or Bibi’s gamesmanship, any move that ends up with no government may lead to an even more unstable situation.

Whether or not Bibi succeeds, Israel needs to look for a new set of leaders that can shift the paradigm to one that is redemptive and unifying. This is critical in order for the State of Israel to move beyond the current emergency and help lead a panicked world forward.

Dr. Risch

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