The Israeli Parliament has approved an extension of special powers for the Ministry of Health (MoH) to deal with COVID-19 for one more year until Feb 15, 2024.
The country’s ‘Great Coronavirus Law’ was enacted originally in July 2020 and has been updated and extended multiple times.
The government claimed the extension was necessary due to an increase in the circulation of Omicron sub-strains, which have high infectivity compared to previous strains, and concerns about a sharp change in the epidemiological situation.
The law in its current version allows the government the authority to declare a “special health situation” but not the authority to declare “a state of emergency” as it previously allowed.
Many sections initially requested by the MoH were removed from the bill, including those allowing the government to impose a general lockdown and set limits on gatherings and events.
The government also still has the authority to impose isolation when needed and use technological supervision.
“Like thieves in the night(!) the government brought to vote today at 1 a.m. the extension of the special power law for a year!” wrote Oren Pasternak, an attorney and founder of Sovereign Protest, which has filed freedom of information requests challenging the MoH’s lockdowns, restrictions, and green passport.