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Israel Supreme Court rejects scientists’ petition against lockdown

The Supreme Court Thursday rejected the petition by scientists and academics against the COVID-19 lockdown.

The judges ruled that “the petition’s underlying factual and legal infrastructure is no longer relevant,” referring to the petition’s claims of inflated morbidity and mortality data, biases, and lack of transparency. The judges ruled the points were moot, as the government has already tightened measures and imposed full lockdown based on the same data.

The Court said it cannot examine the substantive arguments presented by the petitioners, and therefore defers to the “competent bodies”.

Attorney Batya Sachs, who prepared the petition, responded to the ruling, saying: “our funding campaign reached close to 80% of the 90,000 shekel goal within 2 days, which shows how many people from all sectors are behind us. We’re disappointed but not surprised.”

Attorney Sachs continued: “The public panic in the media, fueled by the Health Ministry, undoubtedly influenced the judges themselves. Our panel of experts prove that much of the information is false or misleading. The fact that Ronni Gamzu, Minister Yisrael Katz, and Knesset Coronavirus Committee Chairwoman MK Yifat Shasha-Biton disagree with the total lockdown shows there is a solid basis for our petition.”

She concluded: “We’re sure our public petition helped influence the Ministers and Knesset Members in their decision, and caused them to rethink some of their decisions and restrain them in making unnecessary steps.”

Health Communication Lecturer at IDC Herzliya International School Dr. Yaffa Shir Raz responded to the ruling, saying: “The feelings are very grim, although the result was quite predictable. Unfortunately, the judges’ arguments show that there was not even an attempt to deal with the formidable arguments in the petition.”

Shir Raz said the Court’s refusal to examine the substantive arguments presented by the petitioners renders them a “rubber stamp of the ‘competent bodies’ in the Health Ministry and they therefore will not interfere, even when presented with information documenting lying, suppression of information, and distorting information and data.

“There is no reference to the suppression of information by the Health Ministry – an argument that in itself should have been the basis for Supreme Court intervention, since the Health Ministry is grossly violating the Freedom of Information Act and ignores all requests for information about the data and the PCR test submitted to the Ministry and to Ministry spokesmen.”

Shir Raz concluded: “Falsehood won yesterday in both the Knesset and the Court, but we won’t give up. We will examine, with the help of the lawyers, the options that are still before us. We were defeated in battle, but not yet in war.”

Source: Arutz Sheva