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Israel’s coronavirus committee slams government over crisis management

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces harsh criticism for both preparation and response to the growing coronavirus pandemic threat.

The Knesset Coronavirus Committee on April 7 handed in its intermediate conclusions, pointing out severe conceptual and organizational deficiencies in the process of preparing for the pandemic that was first announced Jan. 20, and in the management of the campaign to curb its spread.

The interim conclusions depict a disturbing picture of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu managing the crisis almost on his own and alone, without any control by others over the decisions made by him. Even when making decisions of great consequences, Netanyahu consulted only a handful of experts, including mainly the director-generals of the ministries of Health and Finance. The committee argued that the prime minister should have established a coronavirus cabinet forum composed of the relevant ministers in order to make decisions of such magnitude and when faced with such a deep crisis. The committee also pointed out severe failures regarding explaining to the public the challenges faced by the country. Decision-makers exposed partial and unclear information, damaging the confidence of the public in the country’s leadership.

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