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Health official under threat: ‘My son asks why people call me a child killer’

Sharon Alroy-Preis has been given panic button amid ongoing harassment from anti-vaxxers, including protests outside her home: ‘I’m a human being with a family, it’s very hard’

Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, head of public health services at the Health Ministry, at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, on July 14, 2021. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, head of public health services at the Health Ministry, at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, on July 14, 2021. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, head of public health services at the Health Ministry, said on Friday she had been given a panic button by authorities to alert police of any potential danger, following continued harassment and threats by anti-vaxxers.

“These aren’t easy days, you need to remember that aside from being a public worker I am also a human being, with a family. When my seven-year-old son asks me why people stood by the house and called me a ‘child killer,’ it’s very difficult,” Alroy-Preis told Channel 12 news.

Dozens of anti-vaxxers staged a protest outside Alroy-Preis’s home last month, with some participants heard calling her the “daughter of the devil” and a “Nazi murderer.”

“When my 9-year-old son sends me a YouTube video of the protesters outside the house and asks ‘What is this?’ — it’s very hard,” she added.

Alroy-Preis told the network that after receiving threats, she had been given a distress button.

“The discourse has descended into an abusive, violent, shallow, and degrading form and something needs to be done about it,” Alroy-Preis said.

She added that she had submitted a complaint with the police over the threats she says she received. “This is abnormal in a democracy where a public servant does their job,” she said.

On Monday, a Zoom participant at a Knesset panel was heard using a curse word while she was talking.

She said that the person who interjected with the term, “bat zona,” which can be loosely translated as “daughter of a whore,” has not been identified yet.

“It’s an embarrassment to the Knesset that there was no investigation of this because this cannot pass in silence. I find it hard to believe that in the 21st century it is not possible to investigate thoroughly and find out who this person is,” she added.

Alroy-Preis has been exposed to intense criticism in the past, including from members of the cabinet, who — while demanding anonymity in leaks to the media — have accused her of taking too extreme a position in favor of COVID restrictions.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz both put out statements last month defending Alroy-Preis, saying that they would not tolerate personal attacks against her, and praising her as a dedicated public servant.

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