Tycoon’s Quarantine Exemption Puts Israeli Official in Hot Seat

(Bloomberg) --

A senior official at Israel’s Health Ministry is under pressure to explain why he allowed businessman Teddy Sagi, founder of gambling software company Playtech Plc and the owner of London’s Camden Market, to enter the country without undertaking the compulsory two-week virus quarantine.

According to an N12 TV report, Health Ministry Deputy Director General Itamar Grotto gave Sagi the go-ahead to fly in by private plane from Cyprus last week to attend a party. He left Israel the same night, the report said.

“The granting of the permit was a mistake,” the Health Ministry said. “This was a serious error in judgment and it will be investigated.” Grotto was asked in a June 10 letter to provide an explanation in writing by the following day.

The incident hit a nerve with the Israeli public, after months spent abiding by pandemic regulations ranging from an almost complete lockdown to the current requirement to wear masks in public. Thousands of people have gone through the government mandated two-week quarantines, either after returning from abroad or because they were in contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus.

Grotto didn’t reply to an emailed request for comment. A spokesman for Sagi said the businessman had done nothing wrong, and the row had more to do with Health Ministry infighting.

“Teddy Sagi arrived in Israeli legally and acted the entire time according to suitable directives given to him,” a spokesman said.

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