Israel's tourism minister Asaf Zamir has resigned from the fractious government Friday, saying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put his personal and legal issues ahead of the response to the coronavirus crisis.

Iran PressMiddle East: Zamir said he doesn’t have an “ounce of trust” in Netanyahu.

Asaf Zamir is a member of the centrist Blue and White Party, which battled Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud in three successive elections in under a year before forming an emergency government with it in May to combat the pandemic.

Israel went into a second nationwide lockdown last month and is now grappling with one of the worst outbreaks in the world on a per capita basis. The emergency government has been roiled by infighting and has faced widespread criticism over its confusing and often contradictory response to the pandemic.

“I can no longer sit in a government in which I don’t have an ounce of trust in the person at its head,” Zamir tweeted. “I have unfortunately determined that the coronavirus crisis and its terrible impact is at best in second place in the list of priorities of the prime minister. Personal and legal considerations are at the top of Netanyahu’s priorities.”

Netanyahu has been the target of weekly demonstrations outside his official residence for months, with protesters calling on him to resign over his trial on multiple corruption allegations and his response to the pandemic.

Earlier this week, the Zionist regime’s parliament passed a law that would allow the government to curtail public protests during the lockdown, as Netanyahu’s critics accused him of trying to muzzle dissent. Netanyahu says the restrictions are needed to prevent transmission of the virus.

Israeli regime garnered praise last spring when it moved quickly to seal borders of occupied Palestine, close most businesses and impose strict stay-at-home orders. By May, the rate of new daily cases had dropped to around a dozen.

But that month, authorities abruptly reopened the economy, lifting nearly all restrictions. Case numbers have soared since then, with the country now reporting more than 7,000 new infections a day and authorities warning that hospitals could soon be overwhelmed. The economy has meanwhile been slow to recover.

Israel, with a population of just 9 million, has reported a total of more than 250,000 cases and more than 1,600 deaths.


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