Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's wife Gilat Bennett and their children took off on a personal visit, triggering criticism against the prime minister for not following his own guidelines.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has come under fire after his wife and children flew abroad amid Covid travel restrictions.
The storm of criticism came on Thursday just days after the Israeli leader urged citizens to avoid international travel because of the new coronavirus variant.
Bennett was attacked by political rivals and everyday Israelis itching to return to normalcy.
“It’s a testament to his behavior, to his responsibility to the public, to the lack of personal example. He thinks he can do what he wants,” opposition lawmaker Israel Katz told Israeli Army Radio.
Israelis took to social media to berate the prime minister on his social media pages, questioning his leadership.
“Send regards to the family abroad while we are all languishing here with the restrictions,” a user named Anna Gechtman wrote.
Love the way Israeli PM Bennett's office spinning the family trip abroad - his wife refused to cancel, you see. It's not that he deliberately misled the public by recommending no travel amid the #Omicron scare despite knowing his own family would ignore the recommendation 🙄— Allyn Fisher-Ilan (@AFilan) December 1, 2021
'I understand the criticism'
Gilat Bennett and her children took off on Wednesday on a personal visit, triggering criticism against the prime minister for not following his own guidelines. Their trip comes after Israel tightened travel restrictions in light of the omicron variant.
Israel closed its border to foreign visitors and barred travel to much of Africa but Israelis are still allowed to fly to other countries and must quarantine when they return.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday answering questions about the new variant, Bennett was asked about his family’s trip and said they were not violating the new travel rules.
Bennett said they were expected to fly to a country that subsequently was banned to travel for Israelis and then changed their destination. He also said more had been revealed about where the virus has spread since his decision to limit travel.
“I understand the criticism,” Bennett wrote. “Everyone is leaving while following the restrictions and will of course quarantine as is required.”
Bennett on Friday announced the tightened measures in a press conference on Friday. He counselled Israelis not to bother booking holidays because he expected more countries to be added to the no-travel list.
“If you ask me, I don't recommend flying abroad right now with such a level of uncertainty,” he said.