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Naftali Bennett: ‘Government demolished Weizmann Institute COVID testing project’

Former Defense Minister Naftali Bennett today took to Twitter to tell the story of the Weizmann Institute’s thwarted coronavirus testing project that could have allowed up to 75,000 tests to be conducted per day.

“Here’s how the Israeli government succeeded in destroying the Weizmann Institute project for 60,000 coronavirus tests a day. Pay attention with me:

“As you already know, there are two alternatives to dealing with the second wave of coronavirus: One alternative is the ‘hammer’ – re-closing the education system, business. Press conferences, etc. Effective, but destroys the livelihood of millions of Israelis.

“The other alternative is ‘tweezers’ – continue operating (almost) as usual, but locate, ‘pull out’, and isolate the virus carriers on a daily basis, thus interrupting the infection chains, preventing loss of control.

“Two wonderful scientists from the Weizmann Institute, Professors Ido Amit and Eran Elinav decided to accept the national mission. They converted a special robot into the institute, and made a number of breakthroughs, so that each robot can decode about 15,000 tests a day, at a very high level of reliability.

“We have 7-8 such robots in Israel. So 5 of those are enough to reach 75,000 tests a day. Sounds perfect? So that’s just it. Health Ministry officials did everything possible to sabotage, make difficult, and thwart. Initially, they refused to allow the Weizmann Institute access to the virus, then embittererd their lives with delusional demands and trashed them in the media.

“All along from the Defense Ministry I helped them overcome the difficulties. We were able to take samples from soldiers, assist them with equipment, resources, and more. I went down to the Institute several times. All you need from the Health Ministry is approval. Yes. Just an OK.

“When I saw that I had exhausted all possibilities, I raised the issue directly to the Prime Minister, who of course was very enthusiastic about the project, but the enthusiasm did not actually come to anything. In the end, the Weizmann Institute members became discouraged. ‘What do we need this mess for? We just wanted to help. You don’t want, never mind. ‘ And that’s it. They stood down. Completely.

“I even connected them with the IDF Sayeret, brought my office manager together with all the IDF officials. But without the Health Ministry’s approval, everything’s stuck. That’s it.

“Israel has lost the ability to do 60,000 tests a day, and still does a few thousand, very late, inaccurately, with patients waiting long days at home and here we are. It’s carelessness, laziness, fixation. But it’s not late.

“I call on the Prime Minister to exert his power, to resume the project, to order the Health Ministry to re-start the project. It is possible! This is exactly the job of the political echelon. The alternative of closing business is extreme negligence. You’re the government, govern!”

Header: Rehovot: Weizmann Institute of Science. Accelerator laboratory at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Original: Arutz Sheva