Israeli PM’s aides accused of flouting quarantine rules

Topaz Luk and Reuven Azar face claims after official trip to the US


Two senior Israeli officials have been accused of flouting quarantine rules after a trip to the US, just as the country entered into its second coronavirus lockdown.

Topaz Luk and Reuven Azar, both advisers to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, were reportedly seen outside their homes last week despite orders to isolate for five days, according to Haaretz.

The Israeli newspaper reports that Mr Luk was seen filming protesters at an anti-Netanyahu rally Sunday night, while Mr Azar was spotted grocery shopping in a Jerusalem supermarket on Friday.

They had returned from an official visit to Washington DC for a signing ceremony at the White House to formalise Israel’s Trump-brokered normalisation agreements with the UAE and Bahrain.

Unlike other travellers from the US, who must quarantine for two weeks, the delegation was asked to isolate until Monday or until they received a negative covid-19 test result.

Mr Azar had not been aware of the country’s new Covid-19 restrictions and was reprimanded, the PM’s office told Haaretz.

Mr Luk, meanwhile, reportedly acknowledged he “should have been more careful” despite multiple changes to the instructions and pledged to pay the fine.

The country introduced sweeping new restrictions on the eve of the High Holy Days on Friday in a bid to halt the surging spread of the virus.

The total number of cases in Israel rose to 192,579, according to figures from John Hopkins University on Tuesday.

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