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Israel ‘Lockdown Lady’ begs to reinstate COVID mandates as coverage wanes

Media's "medical expert" has much to lose if COVID fear dissipates

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Yudi Sherman

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May 17, 2022

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10:07 AM

Israel ‘Lockdown Lady’ begs to reinstate COVID mandates as coverage wanes

Sheba Medical Center Infectious Disease Unit and Laboratory Head Professor Galia Rahav is not happy that Israelis are walking around mask-free and rarely subjected to COVID-19 testing. 

"I think Israel must restore PCR testing at the airport, certainly for those who arrive from South Africa and other countries with high morbidity rates,” Rahav urged Sunday, according to Ynet News. “And we should also go back to wearing masks, especially in closed or crowded spaces." 

Rahav is Israel’s “Lockdown Lady”, a government advisor and media COVID regular who was instrumental in the heavy-handed lockdowns imposed on Israeli citizens. Earlier this year Rahav was still asking for more lockdowns. 

The hospital head also heavily pushed child vaccines and masks. She holds no love for the unvaccinated, whom she refers to as “parasites”. 

But likely most important to Rahav is that she is the Israeli media’s token “medical expert”, whom they trot out occasionally to stoke the embers of mass panic when it begins to wane. 

"We can't know which one of these variants would cause a mass resurgence of the pathogen,” said Rahav Sunday about variants recently reported in South Africa. “We still don't know if they can cause severe illness, and it is unclear at what pace they are spreading, or whether it is similar to the original Omicron variants. 

"What we do know is that vaccinated people and those who have recovered from COVID are less protected against BA.4 and BA.5, and even people who came down with Omicron before can still get reinfected with both of these variants, so we must remain vigilant,” she added. 

Rahav rose to fame with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

In the year before the pandemic, Rahav had little to no media coverage; in fact, a search for “Galia Rahav” in the news between January 1, 2019 and January 1, 2020 generates no results.

But in 2020, the year of the pandemic, Rahav was mentioned at least twenty times in the mainstream media. 

In 2021, the year of vaccinations, Rahav’s fawning media coverage increased, especially when she was threatened by parents over her influential push to vaccinate children. The threats earned Rahav 42,000 shekels in damages and her own page on the Israel government’s website in her defense. 

But this year, Rahav’s media mentions have begun to dwindle. While she did get some attention in January at the height of the Omicron variant, Rahav has been reduced to cropping up before Jewish holidays to warn of impending doom. 

"Today we're vaccinated... but I'm certainly still concerned by the Purim parties,” said Rahav in March, just before the festive holiday of Purim. “We need to minimize the gatherings and make sure to wear masks. We can't say 'COVID is gone' yet." 

“There is a very high probability that after Passover there will be a renewed COVID surge, just as it happened after the holiday of Purim,” she said in April before the Passover holiday. 

With the COVID narrative giving way to the Russia-Ukraine war, COVID-19 hysteria has begun to fade, and with it, Rahav’s spotlight. 

Israel’s citizens have a lot to gain from an end to the pandemic and its restrictions. 

But people like Rahav would only lose. 

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