Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center CEO and former Health Ministry director general professor Ronni Gamzu was appointed on Wednesday night to lead Israel’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The appointment, made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, ends weeks of speculation about who might fill this position.

Gamzu responded to his appointment by posting on his Facebook page: “This is a medical, economic and social crisis. I do not ask questions in such a situation—I just show up, and contribute everything I have to help my country and the health system to manage the crisis.”

Gamzu’s appointment came hours after leading candidate professor Gabi Barbash, another former Health Ministry director general, passed on the position after reported disagreements with the Health Ministry regarding the amount of authority he would have in the role.

Barbash himself wrote that Gamzu was the right person at the right time for the job and that he wished him success.

The two leading candidates are considered to represent different responses to the crisis, with Barbash, a frequent health commentator on the news, seen as a proponent of severe lockdowns, whereas Gamzu is seen as less so.

According to the government statement, Gamzu has many years of administrative experience in the health field, and at the onset of the coronavirus crisis established the “Mothers and Fathers Shield” project to protect senior citizens from the coronavirus. He also chairs the national health-basket committee.

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