Netanyahu dismisses suggestion he and the government failed to curb pandemic

Taking questions, Netanyahu interrupts the first lengthy question, telling the reporter “This is not your speech” after she says much of the public “feels there is no leader” and asks him who should be blamed for the failure.

“You say it’s a failure,” he says testily, and repeats that “I just showed how we shut down early… reopened the economy early… and the fact is that there are achievements.”

Netanyahu blames politics and “populism” for some of the difficulties in reducing the contagion, but denies capitulating to his political allies.

Throughout his career, from the IDF through to political leadership, he says, there have been people saying “You’re not a leader; you don’t have a path; you’re on the wrong path; you’re failing…” He has always put those criticisms aside, and focused on the mission, and has always “taken the right decisions for the good of the state.”

He rejects the notion that Israel’s health care system is short of equipment, or can’t cope with a few hundred seriously ill patients.

Asked what the lockdown is buying time for, and again whether the government has failed, he says, “No, really not. We didn’t fail.”

“The problem isn’t the equipment — it is the capacity of the [medical] teams to keep working,” he says. “Some of them are falling off their feet.”

He says Israel has soared recently from 30 to 70 red zones and simply has to act.

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