Politics in a time of pandemic

Opinion: Only by trusting one another and the mechanisms of the state can we protect ourselves and our children from coronavirus; the country's leaders should take heed and form a unity government that can help us all deal with the challenges ahead

Chen Sror Artzi|
Two things have characterized my generation of Millennials: the desire for distinct individuality and a need to criticize and even dismantle the societal frameworks that hold us together.
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  • Everyone wanted to be a special snowflake, everyone was a citizen of the world and we were all experts who trusted our own opinions and no one else's.
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    בחירות 2020 מצביעים קלפי קלפיות קורונה נתניה
    בחירות 2020 מצביעים קלפי קלפיות קורונה נתניה
    An Israeli with suspected coronavirus votes at a special polling station in Netanya for people in quarantine, March 2, 2020
    (Photo: MCT)
    The systems that surrounded us were large and cumbersome and were showing signs of disintegration. The message was clear: everyone must eventually take care of themselves.
    Then came the coronavirus. A deadly virus that we don't really know how to treat, lacking drug and vaccine alike.
    There is no private insurance that can grant immunity, no amount of money that can offer protection.
    The way forward is simple: Only by people willing to sacrifice their individual liberty can we protect those around us and prevent a mass outbreak.
    Only by trusting one another and the mechanisms of the state can we protect ourselves and our children. There is no other solution, no other Ministry of Health.
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    בדיקות לקוריאנים אשר נמצאים בנתב"ג לקראת הטיסה חזרה לקוריאה
    בדיקות לקוריאנים אשר נמצאים בנתב"ג לקראת הטיסה חזרה לקוריאה
    Officials check for people infected with coronavirus at Ben-Gurion Airport
    (Photo: Shaul Golan)
    Think about how many new rules are now being imposed on us in a world used to personal freedom. There is enormous personal responsibility on the shoulders of every person who is sent into quarantine.
    Ultimately, nobody really knows if someone will violate their quarantine, but people are still willing to lock themselves in a small room with just Netflix and a tiny window for company because that's what they were told to do.
    They are willing to give up their comfort and freedom for people they do not know just purely because it is the responsible thing to do.
    And then there are the rest of us, who have not yet been sent into quarantine, who send their children to school, who are still going to work.
    We place our faith that our community will not betray us, will not succumb to the Israeli habit of cutting corners and hoping for the best.
    We believe that everyone sees the elderly, the immunosuppressed, the ones who might pay with their lives. It is mutually assured survival.
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    בנימין נתניהו הצהרה נגיף קורונה
    בנימין נתניהו הצהרה נגיף קורונה
    Health Ministry DG Moshe Bar-Siman-Tov and PM Benjamin Netanyahu demonstrate how to greet people without making contact, March 4, 2020
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
    So maybe the coronavirus has an important lesson to teach us or maybe it's just like the flu that will vanish with spring and warmer weather.
    But if we have gained anything from this troubling experience, it is that we are again a community that has revived a sense of responsibility and solidarity, renewed our faith in the systems we created to benefit our society.
    These are muscles that we should be flexing every day, not just when a potentially deadly plague hits the world.
    And perhaps if we really try, our elected officials will also be capable of making a tiny effort to see the political games, the bad blood and ancient grudges as obstacles that must be transcended right now.
    Now is the time for Israel to have a unity government, quickly formed and able to address the real challenges that lie ahead.
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