The Great Deception: Exposing Israeli Ministry of Health Manipulation and Media Coercion

The Great Deception: Exposing Israeli Ministry of Health Manipulation and Media Coercion

An avalanche of recent publications from Israel on the pandemic raises questions regarding the extent of the pandemic, the justification for the emergency decree, and the legality and ethics of the methods used by the Israeli Ministry of Health (IMOH) to justify their actions. 

Zero people without comorbidities under the age of 50 died of COVID.  The main finding emerging from an official IMOH letter from May 22nd answered a request for information submitted by lawyer Ori Shabi. The document also reveals that the average age of death from COVID in Israel was 77.4 for those who were not vaccinated and 80.2 for those vaccinated. For those following COVID-related statistics, this answer was not particularly surprising. For example, on June 7th, 2020, the Israeli Parliament’s Research and Information Committee report analyzed those dying from COVID and found similar findings.

Graph 4: The diseased background illnesses

(From right to left: high blood pressure, other background disease, diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung disease, suppressed immune system, chronic liver disease).

Translation: Data from the IMOH shows that all those dying of COVID had at least one background disease, meaning there were no dead who had no background diseases. It is possible that there were dead with more than one background disease, but from the data, it is not possible to deduce about the background diseases of all those who died.

Furthermore, according to the data, 44% of the dead had unspecified comorbidities.  Yet, there is something particularly poetic about the number zero in such a context. Elon Musk himself repeated the magical number in a tweet which prompted the IMOH to answer, calling it “fake news.” According to them, [Somebody] provided the number zero due to their lack of information on comorbidities.

However, patient information is provided upon hospitalization by the patient, their family, and the referring doctor. Even if such information was unavailable to the hospitals, it must be specified in mortality reports. (Official guidelines can be found here.)

In other words, the Israeli Ministry of Health did not consider comorbidity data. However, it was available to them when submitting their response, or their official response is accurate. Either way, official data on the topic from June 2020 and a discussion on the subject in the Parliament in September 2020 consistently demonstrate that COVID-related deaths under 50 are always (or almost always) associated with other comorbidities.

Therefore, the number would stay the same.  These new-old revelations have opened Pandora’s box. Realizing that the pandemic might not have been pandemic at all, ultra-orthodox journalist Yair Levy has begun sharing other disturbing information.

According to Levy, he was directed by the newspaper to refrain from criticism about the pandemic’s extent and vaccine critiques.  Levy first started suspecting that reports about the extent of the pandemic had been inflated when people he had personally known to die of causes such as cancer were reported in the media as dying of COVID. 

Other media reports on the high death rates and corpses hidden in basements in his ultra-orthodox neighborhood of Mea Shearim have also directly contradicted his knowledge of the situation. “There were no bodies,” he said in an interview with the online internet show “Orly and Guy.” However, “once the money started pouring in,” he tweeted, “we were instructed to refrain from criticism.” In the interview with “Orly and Guy,” he claimed he was also weary of being criticized.

Still, the official response from the IMOH empowered him “to come out of the COVID closet.”  Levy, who mainstream journalists consequently denigrated, has continued sharing estimations of millions of shekels poured into advertising by the Israeli Ministry of Health.

IMOH invested close to 206 million shekels in advertising within 18 months of the pandemic, and 3.7 million were invested in the ultra-orthodox community, according to Machatz.

He also claims that heads of other big ultra-orthodox media companies have shared similar information following his tweets. They were given large sums of money, pending coverage favoring the official health campaign and lack of criticism about the vaccine, according to Levy.

The dam may have broken as other journalists shared similar information. For example, Oded Carmon wrote that a column he had written following a trip to Sweden in July 2021 had not been published.  In it, Carmon, who had only recently shared the censored piece on their own Twitter account, was inspired by how the situation was handled in Sweden and mused about the necessity of masks, full lockdowns, and vaccination.

“they never tell you directly, don’t publish.” Says Carmon in a tweet about the editors, “They have other means to show you” (what you need to do).   

Pouring money on the media as part of a health campaign was one of a few propaganda measures used by the IMOH. Gal G shows in her investigative piece a private WhatsApp correspondence between an official from the prime minister’s office and a journalist. 

The journalist, Nati Lengerman, was approached by Raz Tzifris, the manager of a PR company employed at the time by the government, and was asked to tweet slandering messages on a host of people and organizations.

The case covered by Gal is slander against a citizen named Dudu Meishar, who participated on May 7th, 2022, in front of the house of the health services manager (Sharon Elrai Preis).  Although he had done nothing illegal, Meishar was arrested, prompting public support by Pecc (The Israeli Public Emergency Council for the Covid19 Crisis), an organization of medical doctors and researchers who were critical of the COVID policies throughout the pandemic.

The tweet detailed Meishar’s public service, including in the Shin Bet, to refute publications presenting him as an anarchist. Consequently, Tzifri addresses the journalist, and the latter publishes a tweet in which the Shin Bet is quoted as denying any connection to Mishri and dismisses the researchers supporting him as not serious.

Preis’s husband has also followed suit with dismissive criticism of the researchers.  Gal, Meishar’s lawyer, approached Shin Bet and confirmed that he had worked for them until 2016. Yet, despite numerous official requests, the tweet still needs to be removed and has become viral. Even after Meishar’s claim was accepted in court, the defense was never submitted, and the tweet still remains.

The timing in which this event occurred is of importance. The Ministry of Health advocated for children’s vaccination then and faced repeated criticism against numerous policies advanced by the organization of researchers at Pecc, mentioned above.

The slandering tweet on Meishar enabled them to cast the criticism faced against them by the researchers as illegitimate. This series of revelations from Israel reveals a troubling narrative according to which the coronavirus was not a threatening illness to people under 65. Yet, various measures that include money and slander have helped form an environment in which criticism, including scientific and journalistic criticism of the official modes of conduct, was not accepted.

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