שרית רוזנבלום
Sarit Rosenblum
Photo: Dana Kopel
Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel's ship of state is sinking

Opinion: With no united leadership, no clear outline to combat the pandemic and leaders believing that more than 3,000 new daily cases is a reality we can live with, we might soon find ourselves at the bottom of the abyss

Sarit Rosenblum |
Published: 09.08.20 , 15:43
The conduct of the government and its leaders in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is reminiscent of a deer caught in the headlights.
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  • The deadly blow is only seconds way and the deer knows it, but it is frozen in place and unable to move in order to save itself.
    מליאת הכנסתמליאת הכנסת
    Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
    (Photo: Knesset Channel)
    Several weeks from now, perhaps even less, the country's hospitals will stop treating non-coronavirus patients. All it would take are a few mass outbreaks resulting in dozens of patients in serious condition, and Israel's health system will be paralyzed and overloaded.
    Many other countries with better-funded and more advanced health systems than our own have already found themselves in far worse situations.
    There is no reason to think that coronavirus will spare us specifically.
    רוני גמזו ""מתנצל בפני החברה החרדית אם הרגישה שאנחנו מסמנים אותה"רוני גמזו ""מתנצל בפני החברה החרדית אם הרגישה שאנחנו מסמנים אותה"
    Coronavirus czar Prof. Ronni Gamzu
    (Photo: GPO)
    All over Israel, the heads of coronavirus wards have been warning for days of the severe challenge they face, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is still determined to present a positive spin on the situation.
    The contact tracing apparatus, which he brags will be the best on the planet, is still dysfunctional and inefficient. And the death rate, which Netanyahu says is amongst the lowest in the world, is hardly something to celebrate.
    Despite Israel being in the grip of the pandemic for six months now, the hard truth is that there is no clear plan to fight it. No aims, no objectives and not even any policies or timetables to reach those nonexistent targets.
    מחלקת קורונה בשיבאמחלקת קורונה בשיבא
    The coronavirus ward at Sheba Medical Center, Israel's largest hospital
    (Photo: AFP)
    With no national strategy and a depressing economic and political reality, we can hardly expect the virus infection rate to go down anytime soon.
    The public cannot be faulted for failing to follow public health orders when their leaders tell them that 3,000 new daily cases is a reasonable number to live with and to carry on as usual.
    Instead of accepting this grim reality and letting it dictate our future, we have to make a choice and fast.
    Does Israel want to stop the virus' spread and avoid a costly price in lives, with all the restrictions that such measures will entail, or will we follow the Swedish model, which rejected drastic measures in the hope of achieveing herd immunity but could lead to a high number of COVID-19 fatalities?
     מתחם היבדק וסע בגני יהושע מתחם היבדק וסע בגני יהושע
    Testing for coronavirus in Tel Aviv
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    Each method is legitimate if it is approached in a logical and calculated way.
    Each decision requires an honest and thorough explanation to the public regarding the rationale behind it, and means every effort must be made to implement those policies.
    Even the Swedes, who refrained from a full national lockdown, did not continue their pre-pandemic daily lives, minimizing all social contact and moving most of the public to work from home.
    Israel's ship of state is caught in a terrible storm, with no captain or rudder to guide us back to safer shores.
    For if a government decides on a specific method to tackle the virus but fails to follow through, that ship is destined to sink to the bottom of the ocean.
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