Opinion: The people of Israel have fulfilled their part of the agreement with the government and put their trust in the vaccine; now it’s time for our leaders to hold up their end of the deal and allow us a normal life despite resurging infections
Israelis enjoying a hot summer day at the Tel Aviv promenade(Photo: EPA)
After over a year of uncertainty and major disruptions to daily life that included lockdowns and harsh restrictions, the last four months that preceded the current coronavirus outbreak have been a dream come true.
We returned smiling and life was seemingly back on track as we all believed this calamity was behind us.
That is why the all too familiar shroud of dread and fear for the future was twice as heavy as before as it descended upon Israeli society with the new wave of infections.
Israel’s infection rates are climbing once again, and while it is worrisome, its effects on all of our lives must change.
We can go on about the horrible economical, mental and physical tolls of the pandemic until the cows come home.
The people of Israel are well aware of the price they and their children had to pay over the last year. They have been left broken and tired, still licking the wounds left from previous outbreaks.
We live in a reality where most Israelis have already been inoculated against the damnable coronavirus and everyone is well acquainted with social distancing protocols.
That is why we must recalibrate our trajectory and prepare for the greatest challenge facing us yet — building our lives alongside the virus.
It is undoubtedly a daunting task that requires brave and imaginative thinking on our leaders’ part, and also the cooperation of the public.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s new government understands this, and so does Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz and his ministry.
And yet, they have to endure massive pressure from different elements demanding them to change their behavior, including the Health Ministry’s top brass who insists on shaping policy according to dry and problematic measurements, like daily cases and reproduction numbers, instead of focusing on crux of the issue — the number of serious coronavirus cases and the healthcare system’s ability to deal with the influx of patients.
For over a year, the fear of seeing the horrific scenes from Italy, India and Los Angeles come to life in Israel has reigned over Health Ministry bigwigs. This fear has greatly affected their decision-making, but fear is not a plan of action, especially when the lives of each of the country’s nine million citizens are impacted by it.
The people of Israel have fulfilled their part of the agreement with the government and got inoculated. Leaving a fringe minority of anti-vaxxers, we’ve all flocked in droves to vaccination centers and put our trust in the jab. Now it’s time for the government to hold up its end of the deal.
Studies from all over the world, including recent Health Ministry data, all indicate the vaccine is still highly effective in preventing serious COVID-19 illness, hospitalizations and death. Israeli hospitals in recent days have been living proof of that as the number of hospitalizations remains negligible.
We must always keep a close eye on the healthcare system, but at the same time, also on the heavy prices we’ll all pay for hrestrictions.