Israel’s Defense Minister Posts Coronavirus Idea: Isolate the Elderly; Let Rest Become Infected, Immune

Naftali Bennett (Jack Guez / AFP / Getty)
Jack Guez / AFP / Getty

Israeli’s defense minister Naftali Bennet posted a video to social media on Friday suggesting that the country’s long-term strategy should involve most of the population becoming infected with, and immune to, coronavirus while isolating the elderly.

A vaccine would effectively achieve the same result, without people actually becoming sick, but that may be at least a year away, given the length of time it takes clinical trials — which have already started — to run their course.

The first step in Bennett’s plan, apparently, is to reduce the spread of coronavirus by practicing social distancing. But that cannot last forever, and pending the arrival of a vaccine, Bennett explained the next steps:

The most important thing — more than general social distancing; more than testing, testing, testing; is to separate old people from younger people. The single most lethal combination is when a grandma hugs her grandson. Why is that? Because corona is a unique virus, in the sense that it’s way more lethal for old people than for young people. In many countries, zero young people died. Countries that many people died have 0% or 0.1% of folks under the age of 30 or 20 [dead]. Where old people over the age of 80 and 70, one out of five, one out of seven of them that get the virus, die. So what we need to do over the next period of time is take care of grandma and grandpa, but from far away. Lots of WhatsApps and Skype, and you name it. Bring them food, clean the box before you leave, and then, they take it [into] their house. But do not enter the house: do not hug them, because you’re risking them. Finally, people ask me: so will the old people have to be isolated forever? The answer is no. What will happen over the next few months: gradually the rest of the population, want it or not, the rest of the population is going to get the coronavirus, most — the overwhelming majority of people that will get the coronavirus, won’t even know it. It will take three or four weeks, they won’t know they have the virus, and by the end of those four weeks, they will be immune. It will start with a tenth of a percent, 1%, 5%, 20%. When it reaches just about 60%, 70% of the population that will be immune, the epidemic is over, and then grandma and grandpa can come out. It might take a month, it might take two or three months, might take a bit more, but that’s the plan. Good luck. Take care of grandma and grandpa.

On Saturday night, according to the Times of Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that many countries’ health care systems could collapse because of the pandemic, and appealed to opposition leader Benny Gantz to form a unity government.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

Correction: The minister of defense’s strategy does not necessarily reflect the official plan of the government. This article has been updated to reflect that fact.

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