Friday, 20.3.20, Ynet news published that, against instructions from the Ministry of Health according to which laboratories that check COVID-19 samples should work 24/7, the labs are working at limited capacity on Shabbat.
It was further published that the central lab of the Haifa region, is waiting for Ministry of health approval to work on Friday and Saturday
In response to the criticism, CEO of the Ministry of Health Moshe Bar Siman Tov tweeted:
“The labs are open on Shabbat. We are taking samples and giving answers on Shabbat. People are getting answers right now. We are all working 7 days a week”.
Chairman of Yisrael Beiteinu, MK Avigdor Lieberman blamed Minister of Health Yaakov Litzman saying:
“The fact that the Ministry of Health is not allowing Laboratories that detect COVID-19 to work on the Sabbath is a scandal. Apparently Litzman forgot an important rule in Jewish Halacha: Pikuach Nefesh (saving a life) is more important than Shabbat, or to him COVID-19 is not life threatening. Litzman must decide if he is the Minister of Health or the National Kashruth supervisor“.
Chairman of Meretz, MK Nitzan Horowitz, addressed CEO of the Ministry of Health in a demand that they approve lab work on the Sabbath and wrote:
“The Ministry of Health must allow full activity of Laboratory workers on weekends as well. COVID-19 does not keep the Sabbath. We are talking about human life. The lab workers understand the seriousness of the responsibility placed on them at this time of crisis, but the irresponsible political decision is slowing their work”.
Minister of Health Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) responded to criticism of him and wrote:
“It is unfortunate that at a time when the entire healthcare system is dedicated to saving lives, MK Lieberman chose to deal in cheap, untruthful politics. It is an embarrassment. We reject this behavior in every way. At this time, Ministry of health and the Minister of Health at its head, CEO of the Ministry Moshe Bar Siman Tov and the office management, strengthen the hands of the workers in the medical labs, the medical teams at hospitals and clinics, the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, first responders, volunteers, and anyone who is working day and night to save lives for the health of citizens of Israel. Together we will beat this crisis G-d willing”.