Monday, September 07, 2020

Religious Nuts Are Out Of Control In Israel-- Making Israel The Center Of A Catastrophic Second Pandemic Spike


On Friday, Israel reported 1,964 new COVID cases. On Saturday, it was 2,517 new cases. And yesterday... 1,708, bringing Israel's total to 130,644-- 14,204 cases per million Israelis. That number doesn't sound that terrible compared to America's numbers. Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi all have double that number of cases per million residents! With a population of just 9.1 million people, Israel has more total cases than all but 13 of the U.S. states, including states with bigger populations like Ohio and Michigan.

But it really starts looking bad when you compare Israel's numbers to the numbers in countries that don't have Trump and his puppet governors killing people-- like the western European nations. Israel's 14,204 cases per million residents is worse than even the hardest-hit European nations:
Spain- 11,060 cases per million residents
Sweden- 8,405 cases per million residents
Belgium- 7,572 cases per million residents
Ireland- 5,997 cases per million residents
Portugal- 5,913 cases per million residents
Switzerland- 5,124 cases per million residents
U.K.- 5,109 cases per million residents
France- 4,974 cases per million residents
Italy- 4,593 cases per million residents
Netherlands- 4,363 cases per million residents
Israel botched its school reopening really badly-- criminally actually, since it was all about politics-- and the country was thrown into a worse pandemic than it was originally. The pandemic has been turned into a full-blown scandal and tragedy in Israel and it was 100% about politics. Of 1,400 Israel's diagnosed with COVID in June almost half were infected in schools. By mid-July over 2,000 students, teachers and staff had caught it. NPR interviewed Jerusalem-based reporter Daniel Estrin noted that "what happened in Israel is quite a cautionary tale, I think. At first, the Israeli health professionals here urged the government, yes, let school resume again, but only let kids under the age of 9 go back to school, and keep it in small groups. And they said data around the world show that younger kids have a very low rate of infection and transmission. But instead of just letting the younger kids go back to school, there were these last-minute negotiations. Ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools wanted the older kids to go back to religious studies, and so they did. And then 11th- and 12th-graders also went back to school. And so very, very quickly, everyone was back. And then very quickly after that, there was a heat wave, so the government said, well, kids don't need to wear masks anymore during this heat wave. And then we just saw big outbreaks in schools, and a lot of schools shut down for several weeks... I think the lessons to be learned from Israel are listen to the health experts. The government here did not follow the health experts' guidelines to just open the younger grades and to have kids in small groups. They opened very fast, and there was no coherent policy. So listen to your health experts. Have a coherent policy."

An astronomical 3,331 new cases in Israel today-- worst day ever!

Two months later and Israel still is not listening to public health experts and still does not have a coherent pandemic policy-- and it's still all about politics. Netanyahu's shaky government depends on support from completely deranged ultra-Orthodox sociopaths who personify the Greek meaning of the word "idiot." [Umair Haque wrote that "For the Greeks, 'idiot' carried a precise and special meaning. The person who was only interested in private life, private gain, private advantage. Who had no conception of a public good, common wealth, shared interest. To the Greeks, the pioneers of democracy, the creators of the demos, such a person was the most contemptible of all. Because even the Greeks seemed to understand: you can’t make a functioning democracy out of…idiots."]

Over the weekend, Haaretz reported that the ultra-Orthodox politicians threatened to blow up Netanyahu's coalition if he went through with plans to shut down their self-imposed ghettos.
The mayors of four predominantly ultra-Orthodox municipalities sent a letter Sunday to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, informing him that they plan to cease cooperation with government authorities in the fight against the coronavirus in light of an expected decision to impose a lockdown on their cities.

The mayors of Bnei Brak, Elad, Betar Illit and the council head of Emanuel blamed Netanyahu in their letter of failing to hear them out, to examine alternatives they've proposed, or understand their plight, and charged that he has intentionally led Israel down a path that would lead to a lockdown of Haredi cities during the holidays.

The Mayors wrote that since the coronavirus began to spread, they have been "at the forefront of the battle and leading the fight" against the virus. "We have all faced difficult struggles, at home and abroad, to take various steps to get patients out of our cities, to perform as many tests as possible, to maintain social distance, to locate and close places with potential for infection. We were able to change the equation by a considerable percentage, with personal initiative and a delicate fabric of rebuilding trust, in the face of the national erosion of trust and the implementation of the guidelines," they wrote.

However, they claim that Netanyahu did not try to listen to the public and understand their plight. "You did not bother to ask, understand and learn what characterizes a significant section of the population in Israel ... Unfortunately, you did not send anyone on your behalf to hear directly our working methods, and the set of steps that will be taken and succeed in constant and respectful dialogue with the spiritual leadership of this public," they wrote.

The Mayors concluded their letter by saying they would suspend cooperation with the government on everything related to the lockdown. Addressing Netanyahu, they wrote "we hereby inform you that the entire ultra-Orthodox public will not forget the injustice done to it. We will not forget who the man who signed with his hand, time and time again, on our becoming spreaders of diseases and enemies of the people, in the selective punishment of tens of thousands of families, members of the ultra-Orthodox sector."

"The decisions you have made, time and time again, have been made in the absence of logic and health expectation and are sharply and clearly directed against the ultra-Orthodox public. We see you as the sole culprit for these punitive measures, for humiliating the dignity of tradition and our dignity as legitimate citizens of this country."
Exactly one hour later, Haaretz reported that "Netanyahu decided to postpone the ministerial meeting scheduled to discuss the proposed lockdown on a number of municipalities, neighborhoods and two settlements, after ultra-Orthodox mayors sent him a letter saying they plan to cease cooperation with government authorities in the fight against the coronavirus in light of the expected decision" and a couple of hours later reported that the ultra-Orthodox are demanding that the whole country be shut down, not just their cities. "Interior Minister Arye Dery demanded during a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that instead of a targeted closure upon "red" cities, which include five ultra-Orthodox cities, that the entire country be locked down ahead of the Jewish New Year. According to Dery, who represented the ultra-Orthodox mayors in the discussion, if the infection rate remains high, the cabinet should convene on Thursday, the day before the holiday is set to begin, and approve a closure over all of Israel. Dery claimed that professionals have agreed that a targeted closure is not the solution and will not reduce the infection rate significantly."

In an editorial from the Jerusalem Post yesterday-- How Israel has failed in the battle against coronavirus-- the editors noted that "Israel went from being the country everyone in the world looked to as a role model, to one that everyone looks to now as an example of what you are not supposed to do."
Israel achieved an impressive and embarrassing statistic last week, becoming the leading country in infections per capita.

Based on data from Johns Hopkins University, the Jewish state averaged 199.3 new cases a day per 1 million people during the seven-day period ending September 2. That is higher than any other country in the world.


It’s amazing since we can look back and listen again to the speech Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave in May when he declared that Israel had defeated the novel coronavirus.

It’s amazing to think how Israel went from being the country everyone in the world looked to as a role model, to one that everyone looks to now as an example of what you are not supposed to do.

There are many answers to what went wrong. First, was the reopening of the economy in May and June that went too fast. It should have been more gradual. Same with the reopening of the schools. There was no reason to bring older grades back to closed classrooms. They could have carried on studying remotely. When outbreaks were reported in high schools across the country, we all immediately understood why.

Then, there was the failure of the government to use the time that the nation was in lockdown to prepare for the day after. This was precious time wasted. Still today, six months into this pandemic, Israel fails at contact tracing. It still does not have enough investigators who can quickly and effectively cut the chain of infection.

It has increased testing to high numbers but people are still not able to just walk into a clinic and get a virus test, or a serological test to see if they have antibodies, meaning they have already had the virus.

The airport was also not dealt with correctly. While the skies were shut down and El Al came to a halt, no one thought to use the time to build a testing station so people coming and going could be tested. The earliest such a station will open there will be in October or November.

Add to all of this the politicization of the virus. Most citizens today seem to understand what was clear from the outset of the management of this pandemic-- that it has not being fought by leaders, but by politicians, more interested in what the virus can do for their political careers and less interested in how they can really eradicate the virus.

What is happening with Uman is a classic case in point. People should not be allowed to travel there. Period. That is the position of Health Minister Yuli Edelstein and coronavirus commissioner Ronni Gamzu. That was also Netanyahu’s position until the ultra-Orthodox parties in his coalition started to threaten to bring down the government if a solution was not found. Now he’s instructed his ministers to come up with a compromise.

The accusations leveled by members of Netanyahu’s own party against Gamzu-- that he is stoking antisemitism and should step down-- does not help the fight. Instead, everyone seems to be doing what they want. Some people abide by the rules and hold weddings with under 50 people and others hold weddings with hundreds of guests as if there isn’t a virus raging here.

And why should people listen to Gamzu when they hear how politicians talk about him? If the elected officials don’t heed his guidelines, why should the average citizen?

For this to change, the government has to either start working or get out of the way. Since the government is not functioning, its incumbent upon each and every one of us to do his or her part. Wear a mask, social distance, clean your hands, stay home and away from public events and warn others when you see them not adhering to the rules.

Unfortunately, Israelis can no longer count on their elected leaders to do their job and steer the country to safety. In their absence it is up to us to fill the role, and we can do that by following the rules.

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At 6:01 PM, Blogger Nick C. said...

But remember, if you criticize Israel's government, you are an anti-Semite. (and yes I know you were born Jewish)

At 6:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ZioNazis really detest self-hating Jews criticizing the Homeland. Would have been nice if the ZNs had learned what NOT to do from the Third Reich.

At 7:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

a lesson that all democracies on earth need to learn: "the Greeks seemed to understand: you can’t make a functioning democracy out of…idiots." It needs to be explained, since there are so many idiots, it includes fundamentalists of every kind... jews... Christians... Nazis... American capitalists... the greedy...

Or... I've been saying for decades that when an electorate is this fucking stupid and evil, no form of democracy can ever be any good.

that which is obvious must be explained?

At 1:49 AM, Blogger Ten Bears said...

It's been a good many years but, what with all these signs and patents in the skies, droughts and storms of biblical proportions, not only a plague upon humans but of locusts in Africa, not to mention God bowing down to trump, maybe it's time to reread the Book of Revalations.

At 1:49 AM, Blogger Ten Bears said...

Potents in the sky, stupid iPad

At 8:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone checked up on the woman who declared that she was "drenched in Jesus' blood" yet? Or has she experienced her own COVID-based "rapture" and is unavailable for comment?

At 8:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was an altar boy, a jug of sacramental wine got dumped on me. If you believe the cat'lick nonsense, I was drenched in yeshua's blood. Made me an atheist shortly thereafter. Yes it did. It was magical.


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