Israelis Sing Amid the Pandemic

Israel has reported 96 new coronavirus cases bringing to 529 the country’s known total. There are 6 in a serious condition, 13 experiencing moderate symptoms, and the majority have mild symptoms, or no symptoms at all.

The jump in the number of cases may be partly due to an increase in the number of tests conducted to 2,200 in the last 24 hours.

Magen David Adom workers in Hazmat gearMagen David Adom workers in Hazmat gear (photo: Tomer Neuberg / Flash90)

Amid the increasingly severe restrictions being placed upon the population, the picture is not all one of gloom. The Hadar Ganim neighbourhood in Petah Tikva (near Tel Aviv) recently hosted a choir on one apartment’s balcony, prompting many neighbours to come out on their balconies to join the singing.

Apparently the choir noticed a couple getting married in the community and decided to sing a song titled ‘Shevet Achim Ve`achayot’ for them.

Yet the Israelis are not ignoring the difficulties experienced by both themselves and in the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority. Officials are allocating some of the incoming resources to the Palestinians.

Colonel Sharon Biton, head of civilian affairs at COGAT, said:

“Our efforts against this virus stem not merely from a legal duty,
but from a humanitarian and moral one, with an understanding that
this pathogen does not care about national borders.”

At least one analyst summarises it as a ‘bad week for most Israelis’, with children out of school, businesses closed, and hundreds of thousands of families facing the loss of one or two incomes.

As Israel’s economy falters and the pandemic threatens to claim its first victims in Israel, the politicians have become caught-up in an argument over Knesset procedure that has shut down the country’s parliament.

Thus, the very group that is responsible for passing legislation that will help their struggling citizens is not functioning.

Israel is desperately in need of a breakthrough in the political deadlock.

UPDATE 20th March

Stopping just short of a total lockdown, Benjamin Netanyahu told Israelis in a televised address on Thursday evening that they are required to stay at home, apart from shopping for food and medicine, saying:

“Under these orders, you, Israel’s citizens, are required to stay at home.
It is no longer a request, it is not a recommendation,
it is an obligatory directive that will be enforced by enforcement authorities.”

Here is a summary of the situation from Kehila News in Israel: