Alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is facing a considerable amount of flak after a Kan News report on Wednesday revealed that he has failed to participate in even one meeting of the high-level coronavirus cabinet.
In addition to the fact that as the second most senior member of the cabinet, Lapid is legally mandated to be a member of the coronavirus cabinet, Irael is currently grappling with a fourth coronavirus wave, with yet another lockdown looming in the future. Why wouldn’t Lapid be interested in attending such vital meetings during such a crucial time?
According to the Kan report, Lapid also doesn’t attend meetings relating to his own Foreign Ministry.
Lapid responded to the report by saying that he doesn’t need to be at the coronavirus cabinet meetings since Naftali Bennett, the current prime minister, is “managing the COVID crisis in such an exceptional matter.”
Lapid added that the foreign minister doesn’t need to participate in the coronavirus cabinet discussions because it is not part of his areas of practice or expertise. That response aroused even more criticism.
The coronavirus cabinet is attended by almost all high-level Knesset ministers, such as Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar, and none of them, even Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, are medical experts. Instead, they consult with the medical professionals tasked with advising the cabinet.
Another Kan News report on Thursday revealed that Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman has also failed to attend even one meeting of the coronavirus cabinet despite the fact that he is also legally obligated to be part of the cabinet. And he certainly can’t claim that the coronavirus, which has had a devastating effect on the Israeli economy, like all countries, is not his area of practice – especially since the government has announced that another lockdown is a definite possibility.
Opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday slammed the Lapid-Bennett government for its poor management of the coronavirus crisis, adding that when he was prime minister, former Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and former Finance Minister Yisrael Katz attended all the coronavirus cabinet meetings.
“While Bennett is dragging Israel to a lockdown, Lapid doesn’t even show up to the coronavirus cabinet meetings,” Netanyahu wrote on Twitter.
Some coalition members are also reportedly perturbed by Lapid’s lack of attendance and according to Channel 12 News, they believe that Lapid and Lieberman may be trying to avoid being involved in the decision-making process on the coronavirus crisis so they can shift the blame if things go wrong.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)