Netanyahu Adviser, Under Quarantine Order, Left Home to Film Protesters

Likud party says digital media adviser Topaz Luk only arrived at anti-government protest to take a coronavirus test, while protesters say Luk 'staged anti-coronavirus protest'

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Topaz Luk with Benjamin Netanyahu in 2018.
Topaz Luk with Benjamin Netanyahu in 2018.Credit: Abdulhamid Hosbas / Anadolu Agency

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's social media adviser Topaz Luk was filmed on Sunday at an anti-government protest near the premier's official residence in Jerusalem, despite Health Ministry directives requiring him to quarantine after returning from Washington last week.

Another aide to the prime minister, policy adviser Reuven Azar, also violated quarantine orders to go grocery shopping on Friday morning.

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Both Luk and Azar accompanied Netanyahu on his trip to the White House last week, where Israel officially normalized ties with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. According to the ministry orders, they were obligated to remain in quarantine until Monday or until his coronavirus test results come back negative.

Netanyahu's Likud party said Luk was only present for a coronavirus test. However, the tests conducted for members of the delegation to Washington were done in a drive-through facility at the Prime Minister's Office, and did not require those being tested to leave their vehicles.

Luk was filmed near the Prima Kings Hotel, which is roughly 2.5 kilometers (a mile and a half) away from the Prime Minister's Office. Furthermore, the office said Luk was tested at 9:30 P.M., an hour before he was present at the protest at 10:30 P.M. Protest activist Gonen Ben Itzkak submitted a police complaint alleging that Luk had violated his quarantine.

Luk was seen walking at the protest with Netanyahu's media adviser, Ofer Golan, and filming a group of coronavirus deniers. According to the youth movement Rise Up Israel, whose members took part in the anti-government protest in Jerusalem, Luk "staged an anti-coronavirus protest as part of the inciting, false campaign against 'disease spreaders,' a campaign that led to an attempted car ramming of protesters."

Likud said that "Luk arrived in Jerusalem to be tested for COVID-19 following his return from Washington, according to Health Ministry instructions. He later returned to his home, contrary to reports." Likud added that Golan, who accompanied Luk, was not required to quarantine.

The Health Ministry announced on Thursday that all members of the Washington delegation, without exception, were required to quarantine until Monday.

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