Benjamin Netanyahu mistakenly shared a clip from TV series Pandemic with Israel’s cabinet as evidence that Iran was concealing coronavirus deaths by throwing bodies away, according to Israeli media reports.
It came as the prime minister’s office announced that Mr Netanyahu will self-isolate for a week after another senior official, Israel’s health minister Yaakov Litzman, 71 tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday.
Over 6,000 people have been infected with the disease, while 33 have died in Israel. The country has rolled out some of strictest measures including banning Israelis from moving more than 100 metres from their homes.
During a cabinet conference call on Monday, Barak Ravid of Israel’s Channel 13 said that Mr Netanyahu told cabinet ministers he had seen a video of Iranian authorities loading bodies onto trucks and dropping them at rubbish dump.
According to Mr Ravid, who said he spoke to two ministers about the matter, Mr Netanyahu said he was shown the video by his national security adviser, Meir Ben-Shabbat, who forwarded the footage to the attendees during the call.
The video turns out, however, to be a clip of 2007 Hallmark Channel mini-series Pandemic.
Mr Netanyahu’s office declined to comment when contacted by The Independent. The office has not publicly denied the story. Mr Ravid said he spoke to two ministers who confirmed the story.
Israeli intelligence believes Iran is woefully under-reporting the number of deaths from coronavirus, saying the true number is five times higher.
The World Health Organisation has raised similar concerns.
Iran is suffering from the worst outbreak of coronavirus in the region, reporting over 47,500 cases and 3,160 deaths. The authorities have yet to roll out full lockdowns like those currently in place in other parts of the region and have struggled to enforce social-distancing regulations.
Back in Israel, on Thursday Mr Netanyahu, as well as mossad chief Yossi Cohen and the head of the National Security Council, Meir Ben Shabbat, said they would enter isolation as they had been in contact with Israeli health minister Liztman.
The health ministry’s director-general Moshe Bar-Siman-Tov also announced via Twitter his own self-isolation at a facility at Sheba Medical Centre in Tel Aviv.
Mr Litzman, 71, whose wife also tested positive, has appeared regularly alongside the premier to give coronavirus updates.
Mr Netanyahu has tested negative for the virus twice before, the last time on Monday after close aide, Knesset affairs advisor Rivka Paluch, was diagnosed with the virus.
Israeli regulations usually require a 14-day self-isolation for anyone in proximity to a carrier.
The greatest outbreak for Israel has been among the ultra-orthodox community where the areas are often impoverished and crowded.
There have also been several reports of ultra-orthodox groups not following social distancing guidelines, including attending mass funerals and weddings in the towns of Bnei Brak and Beit Shemish.
Mr Netanyahu announced new curbs on Wednesday to deter movement around Bnei Brak.
Original News : https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/coronavirus-netanyahu-iran-israel-cases-self-isolate-test-positive-a9442251.html