Jerusalem (VINnews) – Professor Gabi Barabash, the former director-general of Israel’s health ministry and former director of Ichilov hospital, a leading figure in the battle against coronavirus, has been appointed as Israel’s coronavirus “czar.” The government confirmed the appointment Tuesday and there will be a press conference Tuesday evening in which Prime Minister Netanyahu is expected to announce the appointment.
Barabash has been a leading proponent of lockdowns to combat the virus. It is possible that with the steep rise in coronavirus cases in Israel, with 30,000 active cases in the country, Barabash will push for a lockdown to be initiated as soon as August.
Colleagues welcomed the appointment of Barabash. Professor Roni Gimzu, the director of the Ichilov hospital, told N12 that “Barabash’s appointment as coronavirus czar is excellent. He’s the right person in the right place! This is the best decision taken by the government at this point in the crisis. I know Gabi well. He is decisive, determined, detail-oriented and does not accept that something is “impossible”. He knows when to respect and when to show anger.”
Gimzu added that Barabash had “taken the matter seriously from the beginning, learning the details like he knows and taking a definitive stance.
Gimzu also claimed that “Israel can eradicate coronavirus, strengthen the economy and all this without a lockdown – if there is proper management and public notification. We can show the world that Israel can eradicate the virus without a lockdown.”
Former Mossad chief Danny Yatom however opposed the appointment of a doctor to the position since “the crisis goes beyond lab tests and hospital beds, it affects all the government ministries whose work must be coordinated and monitored. There were other candidates on the list who were more qualified.”
One of those candidates is the highly respected head of the Mossad at present, Yossi Cohen, as well as General Amir Abulafia, who congratulated Barabash on his appointment. General (res.) Ronny Nome, who was responsible for supervising Bnei Brak during the first lockdown, was also offered the position but refused because he felt he would not have enough authority to manage the crisis effectively.