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Bennett’s UN speech stirs controversy in Israel over pandemic efforts

In his speech at the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett made it clear that he, not the health authorities, have the final say on the national campaign against the coronavirus.
Prime Minister of Israel Naftali Bennett addresses the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 27, 2021, at UN headquarters in New York City.

Only a few minutes before entering the plane that would fly him to Israel, and after his first speech to the United Nations, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett delivered a quick statement to the media. The Sept. 28 statement did not deal with the warnings he had delivered a day earlier in his UN speech regarding Iran, which is advancing toward a nuclear bomb. Rather, his statement targeted another topic brought up in his UN address: the government’s policy on battling the coronavirus.

Bennett said in his UN speech, “Running a country during a pandemic is not only about health. It’s about carefully balancing all aspects of life that are affected by [the coronavirus], especially jobs and education. While doctors are an important input, they cannot be the ones running the national initiative. The only person that has a good vantage point of all considerations is the national leader of any given country.”

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