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ONLY IN ISRAEL: Bennett violates quarantine due to ‘lawful’ trap set by the opposition

Prime minister leaves quarantine to head to Knesset because law requires his presence at plenary; accuses Netanyahu of orchestrating the scenario

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in the quarantine chamber during a plenum session in the Knesset assembly hall, Dec. 27, 2021. (Photo: Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

In a story that could perhaps be best summed up as “Only in Israel,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was required to violate his own restrictions on quarantine in order to abide by other laws that required his presence at the Knesset.

Bennett has been warning Israelis that they are on the brink of a wave of coronavirus infections that is going to sweep through Israel in the coming weeks due to the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19.

That forecast justified his government’s shuttering of the skies and rolling out new quarantine rules including requiring anyone who comes in contact with an Omicron carrier to self isolate – even the vaccinated.

But Bennett himself is now under fire for allegedly violating his own rules when he left his home quarantine in Raanana after his daughter was found positive with COVID – possibly the Omicron variant – to rush to the Knesset in Jerusalem on Monday.

However, it is not clear whether he did violate the rules, or whether he walked into a trap set by the opposition. Quarantined Knesset members have a special chamber where they can remain separate from others, and that is where Bennett sat. But the alleged violation came from the fact that he left his house.

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party apparently used a parliamentary maneuver which requires the prime minister to be present to hear speeches by opposition Knesset members and then address the plenary.

In fact, Knesset Member Yariv Levin threatened to block all other parliamentary debates unless Bennett appeared.

“Should the prime minister decide of his own volition to go against the rules and his own commitment, be it understood that there can be no debate on other matters and he won’t be allowed to participate in such debates and vote on these matters,” the letter said.

During his speech from the Knesset’s sealed quarantine chamber, Bennett told Likud members, “You have lost it completely.”

“You know the variant is more contagious, so forcing me to leave quarantine is irresponsible. The public is watching and are ashamed. We will continue to be responsible adults, and you will continue to play your games,” he said.

“Netanyahu dragged me to the Knesset even though he knows I was in contact with an Omicron case and although he knows this could cause the infection of more Knesset staff and members.”

In a statement, Bennett said that “Netanyahu is playing with the pandemic for a minuscule political gain.”

Likud took the opportunity to slam Bennett, calling his response “nonsense.”

“He doesn’t care about public health but rather his political health, which is indeed in danger,” the Likud party said.

Either way, this is not going over well with the Israeli public.

“If we were to do this and leave the house to go to work, the punishment would be heavy,” podcaster Eldad Yaniv wrote on social media. “If you can’t abide by the rules you make up – don’t make them up!”

Nicole Jansezian is the news editor for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS

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