We, the undersigned, have founded a professional, expert-driven body with the intention of upgrading and improving the care and management of the Covid-19 crisis.

As an independent professional body, we undertake the following commitments:

  1. To rely upon evidence-based science and medicine, procedures and lessons learned, tested and validated in the past.
  2. To uphold the principle of civil liberties and the rules of medical ethics, which we consider to be inviolable at all times, and especially at a time like this.
  3. To act with full transparency, to publish the information upon which the Council bases its discussions, conclusions and recommendations, and to make this information available to the public.
  4. To create space for all forms of scientific and social discourse and discussion, provided that they are open, transparent and mutually respectful.

We are confident that the use of professional tools to examine, process and analyze information; the adoption of a social perspective; and the adherence to public transparency, can restore balance, trust and hope during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis in which Israel finds itself.

The Council will regularly examine real-time data, research and approaches, both in Israel and around the world, in order to formulate conclusions and operative recommendations with regard to the most appropriate conduct, basing itself on five fundamental principles, which we consider to be sacred:

  1. Responsible, ethical and balanced medicine

Medicine that is faithful to the principles of scientific and social diagnosis, treatment and prioritization, so that resources are allocated according to an exact prioritization of all factors of morbidity in Israel.  Thus, will the sacred principle in medicine— “First, do no harm” —be upheld.

  1. Maintaining the autonomy of both patient and practitioner

Each individual has exclusive autonomy over his/her body, as well as the absolute right to make decisions according to his/her personal belief system and values. Coercion for medical interventions, as well as sanctions meant to force a person to accept treatment, should be unequivocally avoided.  Informed consent must be respected, as must the freedom to make decisions according to one’s world outlook.

  1. Immediate reinforcement of the health system

A strong health system with sufficient resources will make it possible to deal with Covid-19, while at the same time maintaining the quality of care in all other fields of medicine.

  1. Focusing on the health of the individual in a broader context

One of the roles of a caregiver is to be a source of comfort, hope and optimism, emphasizing the chances of recovery.  Intimidation and aggressiveness undermine the willingness to comply, arouse mistrust, and promote secondary illness.

  1. Medical management that takes into consideration societal and community issues

Public policy during a crisis must prevent the collapse of the weaker elements of a society.  Crisis management must take into account all health, social and economic factors.  Besides those who have contracted Covid-19—as well as those who are more susceptible to contagion—there are many other vulnerable segments of the population, including children, pupils, the weaker socio-economic classes, the elderly, the chronically ill and the severely disabled.

With these principles in mind, the following statements have been derived:

  1. From a scientific point of view, lockdowns are an ineffective tool for handling the Covid-19 crisis

Lockdowns harm society, the economy and general medical practice.  Testimonies from studies, and observations in many countries, show that the benefit of lockdowns is questionable, limited and short-term, whereas the harm they cause is pervasive and profound.  There is currently no qualified medical or scientific body that supports the imposition of lockdowns.

  1. Differential defense systems must be built, focusing on protection of the weak, the vulnerable and the helpless

Actions must be based on ongoing risk assessment, from which protective measures can be carried out in accordance with the needs of each segment of the groups at risk.  This will make it possible to balance the risk of Covid-19 infection with other risks, e.g., medical neglect, economic collapse, depression and isolation.

  1. A new information system must be created that will change the discourse and the means of dealing with the epidemic

A basic value in human society, and one that is paramount in medicine, is helping people to focus on sources of strength, hope and success. Decades of research have proved that such positive thinking and optimism foster mental health and medical recovery.  Moreover, intimidation, threats and negative messages lead to mistrust, contrary behavior and poorer results from medical interventions and treatments.

  1. The vaccine is important and encouraging – but it must not be forced, either directly or indirectly

The existing evidence regarding the vaccine indicates its safety. Although there is not yet enough information about its long-term effects, it seems that the vaccine may be a turning point in dealing with the epidemic. However, coercion or the use of positive or negative reinforcements is unethical and is contrary to the principles of patient autonomy and informed consent.

  1. Schools must be opened immediately

The younger age groups are the main victims of the Covid-19 crisis, even though evidence shows that they are rarely affected directly by the virus. The severe damage caused to children and youth must be reduced by opening the schools at once, and by reintegrating the pupils into regular studies, with emphasis on the academic, emotional and social benefits derived therefrom.

As members of this independent, apolitical body, we declare that our sole purpose is the desire to promote a balanced, credible and transparent policy regarding health, welfare and the economy.  We declare that our activities as a Council are carried out voluntarily and with dedication, without any conflict of interest.  We believe that the accumulated collective knowledge of our members will create the platform essential to developing a rational strategic vision for managing this crisis.

In light of all of the above, we guarantee that the Council will act resolutely and transparently on every possible level, in order to promote and improve the health and quality of life of all Israeli citizens, in accordance with the above basic principles, field data and Council discussions and recommendations.

Members of the The Public Emergency Council for the Covid19 Crisis

Dr. Yifat Abdi-Kork
Molecular Biology, Epidemiology
An expert in epidemiology and molecular biology, served as a Consultant to the national health basket public committee and Head of Pharmacoeconomics Department, Israeli Center for Technology Assessment in Health Care, the Gertner Institute.
Dr. Bruria Adini
Emergency And Disaster
PhD in Health Systems Management, serves as head of the Department of Emergency and Disaster Management at Tel Aviv University. Former Head of the IDF Emergency Preparedness Division (Lt. Col.) and Senior Consultant to the Ministry of Health's Emergency Division.
Prof. Elian Alkrinawi
Professor of Social Work, served as president of the Achva College, head of the Department of Social Work at Ben-Gurion University and as dean of the School of Social Work at Memorial University in Canada. Killam Award winner and beacon lighter at the 2013 Independence Day ceremony.
Prof. Mira Barak
Medical Lab Sciences
Professor of Medical Sciences, head of Medical Laboratory Sciences at Zefat Academic College. Managed the R&D division in Carmel Hospital, Director of Haifa and Western Galilee Central Laboratories in Clalit Health Services, founded and managed numerous clinical laboratories, including the central lab of Clalit, the Corona lab in the Northern region, and the designated corona lab at Ben Gurion airport.
Prof. Zvi Bentwich
Internal Medicine, Immunology
Professor of Medicine, specialist in Clinical Immunology and Infectious Diseases. Served as Chief of Department of Medicine, and pioneered AIDS medicine in Israel. Currently Head of Center for Tropical Diseases and AIDS at Ben-Gurion University. President of NALA Foundation for the Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases in Developing Countries and Board Member of Physicians for Human Rights in Israel.
Dr. Orna Blondheim
Pediatrics, Public Health
Specialist in Pediatrics and Neonatology as well as Director of Health Systems. She served as the director of the Schneider Children's Hospital and served 16 years as CEO of Emek Medical Center
Prof. Emerita Rivka Carmi
Pediatrics, Neonatology
Professor of Medicine, Specialist in Pediatrics, Neonatology and Medical Genetics. Served as Director of the Genetic Institute at Soroka Hospital, Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at Ben- Gurion University, Chairman of the Dean of Medical Schools Association, President of Ben-Gurion University and Chairman of the Board of Universities.
Prof. Asher Elhayany
Family Medicine, Public Health
Professor of Medicine, Specialist in Family Medicine and Public Administration. He served as the CEO of Meir Hospital, the director of the Central District at Clalit Medical Centre, and as the director of the United Health Fund. He served as chairman of the National Council for Health in the Community. Family doctor in the Negev.
Prof. Dov Golan
Immunology, Medical management
Professor of Medicine, specialist in Internal Medicine, clinical immunology, and medical management. A pioneer in the field of immunology in Israel, former Director-General of Rothschild Hospital, and former director of the Israeli Ministry of Health
Prof. Zvika Granot
Professor of Immunology in the Faculty of Medicine at the Hebrew University. An international expert in the field of neutrophil research, is developing new approaches to immunotherapy.
Dr. Michal Hemo Lotem
Pediatrician, Entrepreneur and author on leadership at medical futurism. Served as Vice President of Innovation at the Sheba Medical Center, and as a member of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council. Founded Beterem - Safe Kids Israel,and OSHEYA - Women Lead Wellness. Received Prime Minister's special Award for her contribution to children.
Prof. Asa Kasher
Ethics, Israel Prize
Professor Emeritus of Professional Ethics and Philosophy at Tel Aviv University. Laureate of the Israel Prize for Philosophy. Member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts. Wrote dozens of state and public codes of ethics, including the military code of ethics, as well as serving as a member of several national public committees.
Prof. Amnon Lahad
Family Medicine
Specialist in Family Medicine (ISR) and Public health (US). Head departments of Family Medicine Hebrew University & Clalit Health Services, Jerusalem, Israel. Vice Dean Academia – Family medicine, Hebrew University. Chairman of the National Council for the Health of the Community. Active Family physician in Jerusalem.
Prof. Retsef Levi
Operations Management
Professor of Operations Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management. An international expert in safety, risk management and analytics-driven design and optimization of health systems and biologic drugs manufacturing systems. He is leading several large-scale research collaborations across the world with leading industry enterprises and government organizations. He has consulted multiple state governments during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prof. Lechaim Naggan
Epidemiology, Public Health
Professor of public health and epidemiology. Previously served as deputy chief medical officer in the IDF, the dean of the Department of Health Sciences at Ben Gurion University and, subsequently, as Vice President of the University and Dean of Research and Development. Prof. Naggan was awarded a Life Achievement award by the Union of Public Health Doctors.
Prof. Udi Qimron
Immunology, Microbiology
Chair of the Department of Clinical Microbiology and Immunology at Tel Aviv University. Expert in T cells, mucosal vaccines, genetic engineering of bacterial viruses, and CRISPR. Published in Science, Nature and Cell and has won prestigious research grants including the ERC. Partner in the establishment of the SARS-CoV-2 testing laboratories.
Dr. Amir Shachar
Emergency Medicine, Cardiology
Specialist in internal medicine, cardiology, emergency medicine and health administration. Established and managed the Department of Emergency Medicine at Sheba Hospital, was deputy director of Meir Hospital and currently heading the ER at Laniado Hospital. Founded the Emergency Medicine department at Tel Aviv University.
Prof. Mordechai Shani
Internal Medicine, Israel Prize
Professor of Medicine and Medical Management, Specialist in Internal Medicine. Winner of the Israel Prize. Served twice as Director General of the Ministry of Health and Director of Sheba Hospital, as well as Chairman of the Medicines Committee. Founded and managed the School of Public Health at Tel Aviv University, and also established and managed the National Institute for Health Policy Research.
Dr. Yoav Yehezkelli
Internal Medicine, Epidemic Treatment
Specialist in Internal Medicine and Medical Management. Former lecturer in the Department of Emergency and Disaster Management at Tel Aviv University. Lt. Col. Res., One of the founders of the epidemic treatment team and evaluation programs for extreme biological incidents. Served as a hospital's deputy director, district physician, director of the primary care division in the HMOs. Medical consultant to KI research institute.