Cowardice and the Final Lockdown

Times of Israel reports:

Government ministers voted Tuesday night in favor of tightening the current nationwide lockdown by shuttering schools and nonessential businesses for two full weeks, with the aim of cutting rising daily infections that have passed 8,000 a day.

The increased measures will come into force at midnight between Thursday and Friday and last for at least 14 days, according to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Health Ministry.

This lockdown underlines the government’s failure to deal with disease and, in particular, their cowardice. Their appointment as coronavirus czar, Ronnie Gamzu, put forward a traffic light scheme that was to be backed up with closure of the red areas – those with high levels of infection and positive checks. Then it became clear that most – not all – of the red areas were Haredi or Arab. Both communities pushed back against these closures. The Haredi threatened Bibi’s rule. That was it. The government caved.

In the weeks leading up to the supposed final lockdown just announced, there were reports that 25% of the positive tests were in the Haredi community. Arab communities were also not doing so well. And what measures were implemented there? None. It’s widely known that in the Haredi communities, observance of the social distancing, mask wearing, and hygiene regulations was not universal. Far from it. Schools operated when they should have been closed. Members of the community were even told, allegedly, not to report as being ill to keep the numbers lower. Not all Haredim were so stupid and selfish, but too many were. In the Arab communities, some continued to have large gatherings for weddings which might as well have been called ‘Get your coronavirus here’ parties! Not all Arab communities were so stupid and selfish. But too many were. Now, the whole country is paying the price. To be clear, plenty outside these communities were equally stupid and selfish, but at least with proper track and trace and enforcement and closure, these would have been identified and dealt with too.

We cannot be certain, but if the focus of the government had ben about fighting the coronavirus and not fighting to keep Bibi in power, Gamzu’s scheme would have been fully implemented and there probably wouldn’t have been any need for the current or the final lockdown. Personally, I’ll get through it. But I wonder how many will suffer unnecessarily? How many more workers will lose their jobs? How many businesses will never recover? How many people’s mental health will be damaged, perhaps irreparably?

Bibi, this is on your head. I hope the voters remember your cowardice when it comes round to election time. As for your fellow Likudniks, they are no less guilty.

Vaccination? You bet!

Susan and I tried to get vaccinated against the coronavirus as soon as Maccabi – our Health Fund – told us we were eligible. After a false start when only Tel Aviv was on offer as a place to be inoculated, we secured a slot in Petach Tikva. (Much more convnient.)

How was it? Great. We turned up and in the time it took the front office guy to print us out a ticket for the (non-existent) queue, slots opened up for us and were duly inoculated. In and out in ten minutes or so. Quite an impressive performance by Maccabi.

One witticism doing the rounds gives you a bit of a peek into current Israeli life: can we please get whoever is organizing the vaccinations to be put in charge of the post office?

More Maskless Masses

This is a follow up to Thursday’s post.

On Friday, I went in to Tel Aviv. While a lot of people were wearing masks, in some areas many were not. For example, Kikar Dizengoff and HaBimah were crowded with many groups of people most of whom were maskless. It’s almost as if they weren’t taking the situation seriously. I hope there isn’t a surge in infections in Tel Aviv.

 

The Man (Not) In the Mask

Ra’anana, 3 December 2020

On the walk back from the office today, I saw this individual coming towards me, pushing an empty stroller. He wasn’t walking quickly. He wasn’t exercising. He wasn’t wearing a mask. There was no mask dangling from either ear, either hand or cuff, nor tied in a knot on the stroller. He was maskless. (My spellchecker rejects ‘maskless’ but I’ve left it in as being the best description.)

As he was just about to pass me, I asked him – politely – where was his mask. His reaction was to ignore me. When I repeated the question, while still walking straight ahead, he turned his head away from me. No explanation. No answer (And no mask.) I made one last attempt to communicate with him, but his walls of ignorance were up and fully engaged.

So, I turned towards him as he passed by and took his picture.

It’s not a great picture; I think he speeded up to get away from me and I had no intention of running after him. However, the side view and the distinctive coloring/logo at the back of the hoodie and the stroller should be enough.

If you know him, the next time you see him, gently remind him we are all in this together. If you prefer me to give him the message, send me his contact details.