“Israel’s Health System is Collapsing”

Yesterday Israel recorded another 7,527 infections with COVID-19, its highest daily figure so far, plunging it deeper into the health crisis and appearing to confirm the need for the new total lockdown which started at 2pm Israeli time today.

It brings the number of active cases in the country to 60,786, among whom are 669 patients in a serious condition – a decrease of 23. Artificial respirators are being used for 167 of these 669.

Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu said:

“Only if we fight together … will we be able to prevail over the coronavirus …
the health system is collapsing …”

And Defence Minister, Benny Gantz said:

“We have the highest rates of infection in the world …
We are fighting for the life of the people of Israel.”

They are both battling many opponents in Israel who are angry about the government’s handling of the pandemic.

On Thursday Israel’s laboratories carried out 60,524 screening tests – the highest per capiita rate in the world – and the positive ratio was 12.8 percent, another new record.

Interviewed yesterday, former defence minister Naftali Bennett warned that unless everybody cooperated, the country was heading for a catastrophe.

He criticised the government and opposition for arguing over the details of whether to allow public demonstrations and prayers in synagogues during the new lockdown and appealed to all Israelis to show unity and responsibility.

The arguments among officials continued on Friday, casting doubt over whether a law would pass in time to limit protests scheduled to take place on Saturday night, as well as Sabbath prayers.

New guidelines place tighter limits on protests, down to 20 people in each sub-group and a maximum overall total of 2,000 people. Traveling more than a kilometre to join a protest will also be prohibited.

Indeed, the arguments continued for so long that new laws were not introduced before the lockdown began. The Likud Party claimed that:

“The law could not pass today in the Knesset due to the 4,000 objections from the opposition,
which is acting irresponsibly in a national emergency.
This is due to the opposition`s obsession with allowing the festival of protests.”

It seems that the desire to protest is overriding the desire to control the spread of the virus.

The question for other countries is: ‘Are we heading towards the same situation?’