Top Israeli Health Official to Receive Security Detail as Anti-vaxxer Threats Intensify

The Health Ministry's director of public health, Sharon Alroy-Preis, is facing the maximum level of threat, according to Israel Police

Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner
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Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis at a Knesset committee meeting
Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis at a Knesset committee meetingCredit: Noam Moskowitz/Knesset Spokesperson
Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner

The Health Ministry has allocated private security to its director of public health, Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, after the police determined that she faces the highest level of risk amid incitement from anti-vaxxers. 

Israel Police upped the threat level against her from four to six on Saturday, the maximum security threat.

Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev met with Israel's police commissioner Kobi Shabtai and agreed on increasing Alroy-Preis' security detail while she was still in Germany. She was updated about the development over the phone, and was escorted by police from Ben-Gurion International Airport to her home in Haifa upon her return to the country. 

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In response to the threats, the Health Ministry stated that it had established a hotline to report threats made against its staff.

On Thursday, the police opened an investigation into incitement against her on social media after a complaint from a security official at the Health Ministry. Alroy-Preis' family members also filed three complaints about threats which she had received. 

Alroy-Preis’ high threat level designation follows what the police consider credible intelligence about plans to harm her or those around her. She has been a focus of criticism by vaccine opponents, some of whom have even called on social media for her to be physically attacked. 

The Health Ministry said in a statement that “the violent incitement on social media against Dr. Alroy-Preis must stop immediately.” The head of the Israel Medical Association, Prof. Zion Hagay, added, “We must not let this pass quietly.”

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