Israel’s health minister has been accused of flouting his own lockdown rules after continuing to attend group prayers – despite a ban on gatherings.
Yaakov Litzman has tested positive for Covid-19, causing chaos in Israel’s highest political office as leaders working to tackle the virus crisis are forced into quarantine.
Several senior officials in Benjamin Netanyahu’s Cabinet, have been forced to go into isolation after the 71-year-old minister contracted coronavirus.
The Prime Minister had already been in isolation after one of his senior aides tested positive for Covid-19.
The Health Minister’s diagnosis has reportedly forced 70-year-old Mr Netanyahu back into quarantine.
Mr Litzman is accused of continuing to attend group prayers in breach of his Ministry’s own guidelines days before he was diagnosed with coronavirus, according to the Times of Israel quoting a television report.
Reports say authorities’ contract tracing has suggested the senior official most likely caught the virus while grocery shopping.Mr Litzman had already been caught up in serious allegations in recent times.
He has faced accusations he pressured officials in his office to change their psychiatric reports in order to deem an alleged serial pedophile with ties to his own Gur sect as unfit for extradition to Australia.
The controversial political figure had also attracted international condemnation for his homophobic pronouncements, including calling all LGBT people ‘sinners.’
Now, the minister’s positive test for the virus amid the global pandemic has forced the PM, top political officials, and health chiefs leading the fight against the virus, into quarantine.According to the Times, his Health Ministry confirmed Mr Litzman had frequent contact in recent weeks with Mr Netanyahu and other senior officials before he was diagnosed with coronavirus.