Israeli leaders fail to follow own hygiene rules
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Israeli leaders fail to follow own hygiene rules

As virus cases rise, public told to be stricter about wearing masks and maintaining social distancing — by government officials apparently unable to do the same

Newly appointed Education Minister Yoav Gallant (left) with his predecessor Rafi Peretz at the Education Ministry in Jerusalem on May 18, 2020 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Newly appointed Education Minister Yoav Gallant (left) with his predecessor Rafi Peretz at the Education Ministry in Jerusalem on May 18, 2020 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

With Israel possibly on the cusp of a resurgence of the coronavirus, health officials have warned the public against relaxing social distancing and hygiene habits.

However, Israelis have long griped that when it comes to politicians and virus regulations, it seems to be a case of do as I say, not as I do — from lawmakers, including the prime minister and president, meeting with family members over the Passover holiday during a national lockdown, to then-health minister Yaakov Litzman allegedly attending group prayer services in the days before he was diagnosed.

On April 12, the Health Ministry ordered Israelis to wear face masks when outside their homes. The directive came in addition to the requirement to maintain a social distance of two meters between people.

While social distancing and hygiene guidelines remain in place, many in Israel have taken a more relaxed attitude as the virus appeared to wane, with officials warning that it may be aiding an uptick in cases.

But Israeli politicians across the spectrum seem to be among those who appear unable to follow the rules, whether it’s getting up close at a ceremony or not wearing masks correctly, presumably because the photos will look better.

Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz after the presentation of the 35th government of Israel at the Knesset, May 17, 2020. (Alex Kolomoisky/POOL)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) stands alongside fellow Likud lawmakers at the Jerusalem District ahead of the opening hearing of his corruption trial on May 24, 2020. With Netanyahu (from left): Ariel Kelner (Likud candidate); Shlomo Karai MK; Finance Minister Israel Katz; Education Minister Yoav Gallant; Nir Barkat MK; Minister without Portfolio Tzachi Hanegbi; Keti Shitrit MK; Gadi Yevarkan MK; Minister of Public Security Amir Ohana; Mai Golan MK; Minister of Intelligence Eli Cohen; Transportation Minister Miri Regev; Minister for Liaison between the Government and the Knesset David Amsalem. (Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu/Twitter)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz (left) with Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem May 31, 2020. (Ronen Zvulun/Pool Photo via AP)
Minister of Labor, Social Welfare and Social Services Itzik Shmuli with Ofir Akunis at a ceremony at the Ministry of Labor, Social Welfare and Social Services in Jerusalem on May 18, 2020 (Shlomi Cohen/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and Defense Minister Benny Gantz at the Knesset, May 17, 2020. (ALEX KOLOMOISKY/POOL)
Newly appointed Public Security Minister Amir Ohana (right) with his deputy, Gadi Yevarkan, at the Public Security Ministry in Jerusalem on May 18, 2020 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Opposition leader MK Yair Lapid arrives at a rally of self-employed and kindergarten owners calling for financial support from the government outside the Knesset in Jerusalem, on April 19, 2020 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Then-Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich (left) inaugurates the high-speed train between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, at Yitzhak Navon train station in Jerusalem on May 11, 2020 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Newly appointed Minister of Housing and Construction Yaakov Litzman (standing) with outgoing minister Yifat Shasha Biton at the Housing and Construction Ministry in Jerusalem on May 18 2020 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Leader of the Joint list Ayman Odeh at a rally calling for financial support from the Israeli government in Jerusalem, May 4, 2020 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Incoming Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel (right) with the outgoing minister, Ze’ev Elkin, at the Environmental Protection Ministry in Jerusalem on May 18, 2020 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Newly appointed Public Security Minister Amir Ohana (center) with outgoing minister Gilad Erdan (right) at the Public Security Ministry in Jerusalem on May 18, 2020 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Finance Minister Israel Katz (C) with MK Fateen Mulla (L) and Druze spiritual leader Sheikh Muafak Tarif (R), June 1, 2020 (Courtesy)
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