Lockdown, Part 2

by | Blog

Israel is locked down again. Some restaurant owners here smashed plates in the streets to protest the nation’s second round of coronavirus restrictions. Other citizens simply went without pizza. Upon learning that just under 12% of recent, ongoing nationwide COVID-19 tests were regularly confirmed as positive, the government could stand no more. Not coincidentally, many Israelis opposed to restrictions they feel are unfair and ineffective, had reached a like conclusion. “When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes a must,” read a handmade sign carried by one of hundreds of protesters gathered in Tel Aviv at a large gathering which, ironically, was entirely lawful.

Like in the U.S., you can gather in mobs and protest in Israel during the lockdowns, but it’s best to stay away from work, schools and places of worship in Israel.

“Evidence is mounting that Sweden has beaten the coronavirus with herd immunity rather than a lockdown, according to a renowned expert on the spread of disease,” wrote Bruno Waterfield in a recent article that appeared in theaustralian.com. “Sweden’s infection rate has remained low and stable at a time when other European countries are facing a strong resurgence.

“In Britain there are 69 cases per 100,000 people compared with 28 per 100,000 in Sweden, which did not implement strict lockdown measures in the northern spring. The infection rate in France is almost seven times higher than in Sweden, and in Spain ten times higher.

“Kim Sneppen, professor of biocomplexity at Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, told the Politiken newspaper: ‘There is some evidence that the Swedes have built up a degree of immunity to the virus which, along with what else they are doing to stop the spread, is enough to control the disease.’

“…Others warn that it is too early to tell. ‘I don’t think it can already be ruled out that Sweden will also have a flare-up,’ said Allan Randrup Thomsen, professor of virology at Aarhus University.”

But that’s why they call it biocomplexity.

“The [Israeli] economy is in free-fall, people are losing their jobs, they’re depressed,” said a 60-year-old woman who had lost her job as a result of the first lockdown, per a story in the Times of Israel. “And all this for what? For nothing!”

The lockdown began just before the start of Rosh Hashanah and was scheduled to continue for at least three weeks. But, today, September 24th, it appears that “[t]he country is heading back into a complete lockdown…to begin Friday and is likely to last until at least the end of the holidays,” according to the Jerusalem Post.  “After eight hours of deliberations, the coronavirus cabinet made its recommendations, which were brought to the full cabinet for a late-night vote. By 6:30 a.m. the government had approved the lockdown, too.

“The government’s recommendations will be presented to the Knesset on Thursday for a vote.

“The lockdown is expected to be more stringent than the one in March, and should include shuttering synagogues, reducing the number of people who can protest, closing all nonessential businesses and markets, reducing public transportation routes and allowing citizens to gather only within their nuclear families.”

But there is some good news for protesters, who “are expected to be allowed to [continue to] demonstrate and worshipers to pray outside in groups of up to 20 people within one kilometer of their homes. Synagogues are expected to open only on Yom Kippur for small groups of worshipers, according to the outline originally designed and implemented on Rosh Hashanah.”

A decision has not yet been made on whether to halt departures from Ben-Gurion Airport, which may begin as early as Friday if approved.

Nobody knows whether locking down the entire culture is the proper thing to do but most Israelis agree that too many people—those taken ill as well as the virus free—are suffering. Over 1,200 people were reported to be hospitalized with COVID-19 at the time of this writing, 579 of whom are listed in serious condition. Since the start of the pandemic, 172,322 people have been diagnosed positive, or nearly 2 percent of the population.  At the same time, hundreds of small businesses have failed, social norms have been rewritten or abandoned and thousands have lost their jobs.

The lockdowns, which have thus far proved ineffective, are opposed by many religious and ultra-Orthodox Jews because of their expected impact on public prayer services during the High Holidays, by restaurant owners, jewelry and Judaica shops, open market vendors, and others bound to tourism for their livelihoods, and the public at large because school closures will necessitate many parents to miss work to stay home to care for their young children.

After the upcoming lockdown, the country will resume what is called “the traffic light plan,” which classifies neighborhoods in Israel into green, yellow, orange and red categories in line with their morbidity index from the coronavirus. Each color classification specifies escalating restrictions on gatherings and the maximum capacity of buildings and institutions.

Perhaps the “traffic” designation is a poor choice of words for the plan given Israelis’ historically scandalous behavior when driving.

*****
SUBSCRIBE to continue reading this article and access more content about Israel and the Messianic Community around the world.

The Ongoing Battle for Yom Ha’atzmaut – Israel’s Independence Day

Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel's Independence Day, holds a profound significance not only for Israelis, but for the global Jewish community and all those who value freedom and self-determination. This day commemorates the historic declaration of independence of the State of...

Behind the Curtain: The Candles Burn What Really Happened in the Jewish Community of Belarus

As assaults against the Jewish people continue to shake the Jewish world, Reach Initiative International, a ministry founded many years ago by Rabbi Stewart and Chantal Winograd, seems to always appear at the center of the conflict, whether it’s in Israel, the...

Beth Shechinah Celebrates Thirty Years of Glorifying G-d

This is an exciting year for Rabbi Calev (Cal) Goldberg and Congregation Beth Shechinah in Calgary, Canada. The congregation celebrated its 30-year anniversary after Passover this year. In celebration of this amazing milestone, they showed a video of the past years...

The Rich Heritage of Persian Jews and the Festival of Purim

The Persian Jews hold a most special claim to the festival of Purim. The story of Mordechai, Queen Esther, ‘Setara’ in Persian, and the Jewish people in their fight against the evil Haman, took place in Babylon. This became the great Persian Empire and eventually...

IDF Sergeant Major Chaim Malespin: A Life of Service to G-d

Israeli Messianic Believer Chaim Malespin is not only the co-founder of the Aliyah Return Center, an Israel based non-profit organization that assists new Jewish immigrants, but is also a sergeant major in the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) Combat Engineering Corp’s...

Are the Jewish People REALLY Indigenous to the Land of Israel?

While the Jewish community in Israel, and across the Diaspora, are preparing and enjoying yet another year of commemorating the Passover, there are a growing number of people in the world who are falling into the same trap of the “holocaust deniers”. In this case,...

A Messianic View on the Israel-Hamas War

On that horrific Shabbat day of October 7th, Simcha Torah, a holiday of joy and celebration on the Jewish calendar, violence struck the Jewish people in Israel with a massacre of biblical proportions. Yes, there have been many wars in Israel but the onslaught was so...

Israel Experiences National Unity and Spiritual Revival During the War

It was the summer of 2023 that the words ’Civil War’ loomed at the forefront of almost every Israeli conversation. The country of Israel was, indeed, broken and ripped in pieces politically—left versus right. Judicial reform was promised by the right-wing government...

Antisemitism: History’s Oldest Hatred

The horrific events of October 7, 2023, now known as Black Saturday, were tragic. However, one only needs to tune into the local news for a moment to realize the massacre of Black Saturday has somehow triggered an open season on Jewish people around the world. But...

A Biblical View of Messiah’s Miraculous Birth

The Tanakh, also known as the Old Testament, prophecies of a Messiah who will come to usher in an era when the people of the world will live together in harmony and righteousness. The term Messiah (Mashiach in Hebrew) means “anointed one.” From the beginning, the...