Education Ministry COVID Chief Quits After Director General Fired

Move comes amid dispute with Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton over school vaccinations policy

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Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton
Education Minister Yifat Shasha-BitonCredit: Ohad Zwigenberg

Yogev Nadav, the Education Ministry’s chief of COVID response, resigned after Director General Yigal Slovik was dismissed by Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton.

Yogev, who was not directly employed by the Education Ministry, informed senior ministry officials of his decision on Monday.

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Slovik supported vaccinating children in the schools, while Shasha-Biton was against it. However, Shasha-Biton wrote on Facebook that “the coronavirus and the dismissal are unrelated” and her associates said she fired Slovik due to her more general dissatisfaction over his professional performance and not specifically over coronavirus policy. Slovik’s advisers and his driver were fired the day after Slovik was dismissed, because they had been personal appointments.

Associates of Slovik who spoke to Haaretz on Sunday evening expressed outrage over the decision but added that he had been unhappy on the job for some time, that he had not been given latitude to carry out his job and that the ministry was falling behind in taking the steps necessary to deal with the future of the country’s education system.

Tensions between Slovik and Shasha-Biton came to a head last week over the school-vaccination issue, the sources said. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had directed the ministry to take a leading role in the vaccination campaign, which is now includes children from age 5, but the education minister refused, according to the sources, saying that she did not want school staff involved.

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