Speaking before the Knesset plenum on Wednesday, Public Security Minister MK Gilad Erdan (Likud) discussed the various complaints raised by MKs surrounding the government’s handling of the corona crisis, particularly with respect to the police’s conduct.
“Apart from the Health Ministry, of course, perhaps the most important aspect in dealing with the corona pandemic is the functioning of Israel Police. The enforcement, whose importance cannot be overstated these days, is truly life-saving enforcement,” he said. “Aside from the medical teams, the police officers are on the front line more than anyone else.”
The police officers, said Minister Erdan, “are enforcing the Health Ministry’s life-saving instructions, and they are doing it with self-sacrifice.”
The officers enforce “very complicated regulations that are announced in the middle of the night, and in the following morning or the next day, they have to be translated into enforcement. Mistakes and mishaps can happen.”
Addressing the high morbidity rate in the Haredi sector, Minister Erdan said “there are sectors with unique characteristics. I don’t think this is a time in which we should be making accusations. Each sector in the country has its own unique characteristics, and we must respect them and adjust the government’s activity.”
“The high morbidity rate in some religious communities, certainly in Haredi communities, obligated us to intensify the enforcement over the past few days, and that is what is happening. The current enforcement is unprecedented in scope, and if there will be a decision on a (complete) lockdown, we’ll know how to implement it immediately.”
Minister Erdan clarified that IDF soldiers who have been deployed in the streets were not given enforcement powers. “We were forced to ask the IDF for assistance in order to reinforce the presence and deterrence in public areas in the State of Israel,” he said. “It is important for me to stress that that the IDF soldiers you’ve started to see in the streets have not been given the powers of police officers. They do not carry out enforcement and they do not (deal) with civilians. They’re job is mainly presence and deterrence.”