The Israeli Public Emergency Council for the Covid19 Crisis
To:

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett

Severe Warning – A Lockdown During The Upcoming Holidays Will be Catastrophic
Urgent Request for a Meeting with the Prime Minister

 

To the Honourable Prime Minister,

Firstly, we wish to congratulate you on the formation of the new government.

The complexity of the task you have taken on is unparalleled, certainly in these challenging times, and we wish you heartfelt success.

We are hearing warnings of an impending lockdown during the upcoming holiday period, and we would like to state clearly and strongly – another lockdown will be nothing short of a catastrophe.

The Public Emergency Council is a spontaneous initiative of doctors and researchers who felt that it was no longer possible to remain silent in the face of the outgoing government’s steps to contain the COVID- 19 pandemic.

As you can see below, among the members of the Council are individuals who constituted and still constitute the backbone of the medical establishment in this country, individuals who are at the heart of the medical consensus: four Israel Prize laureates, a Nobel laureate, experts who have managed four hospitals, a former Director Generalof the Ministry of Health, a HMO Director General, an IDF Deputy Chief Medical Officer, a founding member of Israel’s epidemic treatment team and an expert in disaster situations, university department heads, deans and deputy deans of medical faculties, all of whom have joined together in an extraordinary step, without any political,commercial or personal interest, in order to contribute the vast knowledge and experience which they have acquired to the relevant decision makers.

The council is dedicated to providing a science-based professional opinion, focusing on the widest and mostcomprehensive view, including physical, mental and social aspects, in order to provide a guiding voice true to the basic principles of medicine and free choice – a balance between courage and conservatism, between the costs of the problem and the cost of possible solutions.

Unfortunately, many decisions made during the crisis’ management were political. The policy was dictated in secret by the National Security Council instead of by scientists and physicians. Protocols painstakingly developed with years of effort and experience were “thrown out the window”. Instead of enabling free professional exchanges of views, the decision-makers repeatedly engaged in censorship and defamation of anyone who offered a different opinion, in accordance with the message transmitted from the top of the decision-making pyramid.

A propaganda campaign, run to benefit the political echelon, presented what happened in Israel as a success story,when this was far from the truth. Israel enjoyed one of the best starting points in the world at the beginning of thecrisis: one of the best health systems in the world, despite having been underfunded for years; the youngest population in the western world; a single point of entry; and a fully developed, organized, pandemic plan, in place since 2007, as a result of our perpetual state of readiness for war. Despite this, we received a comparatively “mediocre grade” in global terms for mortality per capita, with comparatively long and harsh lockdowns, together with the use of controversial surveillance tools not employed in any other western country.

We “won” first place in the world for the severe damage incurred to the education system, harm to citizens’ health, and other parameters. When the government did get around to engaging the cooperation of the HMOs in implementing an important vaccination campaign that garnered worldwide admiration, it chose to sabotage the positive reputation gained by virtue of this significant achievement by using indirect coercive measures and turning a blind eye to severe violations of basic individual rights. These actions increased mistrust, polarization, and hostility in Israeli society.

The government chose to present this severe damage and reckless conduct as an extraordinary success and Israel as “the first country to exit the crisis” – a declaration that in fact, lacked any foundation in reality.

Moreover, funds were heavily invested in short-term products of low benefit, instead of acting calmly to strengthen the medical system and staff. The steep price of reckless, political, publicity seeking decisions that yielded ineffective results will be paid for years to come.

We have invested our entire lives in caring for and promoting the health care system in Israel – in treatment, management, education, and research. We could have chosen to remain in our personal and professional comfort zones and continued to observe with discomfort the failures of the government. However, we would have beenunable to sleep peacefully had we not chosen to set out and act for the good of the State of Israel and its citizens. We never expected that we would be confronted with a smear campaign by people who have been at the heart of the establishment for decades, launched merely because we chose to employ professional, strategic and wide-ranging considerations.

A government of “change” cannot be just a title – change must be demonstrated, change must be examined throughactions. Therefore, during this sensitive and fateful period, we ask you for an urgent meeting with our representatives in order to present our positions regarding actions and steps to be advanced (and the data supporting them), and to ensure that we do not find ourselves once again in a situation where the system operates inefficiently, whereby we all pay an immeasurable price for policy that outweighs any benefits.

We urge you not to continue with the previous government’s policies which prevented open discussion and exchange of views. These policies led to three devastating lockdowns, and now appear to be leading to a fourth lockdown, which will be even more devastating. As a leader, it is essentialthat you hear differing opinions in order to evaluate new and better alternatives.

 

Thank you in advance and with our blessings of hope and success,

 

 

Signed,

Members of the Public Emergency Council for the Covid19 Crisis