Israel's President Reuven Rivlin hosted his daughter and her children at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem for the Passover holiday and Wednesday's seder meal, despite Health Ministry orders limiting celebrations to residents of the same household only, intended to curb the sperad of the coronavirus.
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On Friday, Rivlin apologized on Twitter: “Before the Sabbath begins, I want to apologize. I read the harsh responses to my daughter joining me during the holiday and I understand most of them. Since [Rivlin’s wife] Nechama passed, my children have been helping me greatly with my personal matters, and also in what is needed for work matters – as contacts during holidays and weekends, when my office is not manned.”
“I understand that if you don’t know about my daily schedule as president, it is hard to understand this and I am sorry about that. Happy holidays and Shabbat Shalom to all of you,” he tweeted.
Rivi's family is staying in the guest residence next to where the president lives, inside the official residence compound.
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Anyone who comes into contact with Rivlin is first tested for the coronavirus, and only after receiving a negative result are they able to see him, the President’s Office said. They added that since Nehama Rivlin passed away last year, the president’s family regularly helps him with his personal needs and work.
His daughter said in a statement reported by Kan Bet radio she has “accompanied and will accompany the president during the holiday after she underwent a coronavirus test which was found to be negative.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also violated Health Ministry directives by attending a meal with his family when he was still supposed to be in quarantine. Netanyahu and his son Avner, who doesn’t live in the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, were seen holding the traditional meal in a video filmed prior to the Passover holiday that was aired on Channel 12 News on Wednesday evening.
Netanyahu’s office declined to say when Avner moved into the Prime Minister's compound and where exactly he lives, or if he had been in contact with his father while he was in quarantine.
The Health Ministry and Netanyahu have called on the public to “act responsibly” and keep the Passover seder to the nuclear family, whose members reside in the same household. Furthermore, the Health Ministry instructed Israelis to refrain from visiting their parents on Passover eve in order to prevent further infection within the community.