Netanyahu Self-quarantines After Aide Tests Positive for Coronavirus

Premier's Knesset affairs adviser tests positive for COVID-19 days after she was in parliament for key vote

Benjamin Netanyahu arrives for a speech from his Jerusalem office on March 14, 2020.
Gali Tibbon/Pool via AP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his close aides will self-isolate after the premier's advisor on Knesset affairs tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday.

The Prime Minister's Office said the step was a precaution and is being taken until the epidemiological investigation of Knesset Affairs Advisor Rivka Paluch is concluded. His office said they were not in the same room in the last two weeks.

Haaretz Weekly Ep. 72

Paluch was in the Knesset Thursday during the vote for Knesset speaker. It is still unclear which legislators she had come into contact with. Currently in voluntary quarantine are Netanyahu's spokesperson Shir Cohen, Director of Prime Minister's Office Asher Hayoun and political spokesperson Naor Yahia.

Netanyahu is reportedly getting tested periodically for the virus. He had been mostly staying at home and conducting meetings over video but was present in the Knesset for the Thursday vote.

Netanyahu is in the midst of coalition talks to form a unity government with political rival Benny Gantz. His long-awaited trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust had been scheduled for March 17 but was delayed after the justice ministry froze courts due to the coronavirus crisis. It is now expected to begin on May 24. 

As of Monday, there were over 4,300 confirmed coronavirus cases in Israel, including 17 people who have died.