Diana Barshaw
Rise and walk the land, it's length and breadth

Give us Liberty

Israel is heading into another election and it seems once again we’ll have a political stalemate and be unable to form a stable government. Same old, same old. I suggest a shift in strategies that might realign the parties and would certainly lead to a better future.

One (or more) of the parties now setting themselves up to run for the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) could make the removal of all lockdown regulations as their primary policy. I mean NO lockdown. In person class room instruction?  Yes.  Large weddings?  Yes.   Dancing until dawn?  Yes.  Prayer services in crowded little synagogues or mosques or churches?  Yes.  Concerts?  Yes.  Movies?  Yes.  Large family celebrations?  Yes.  Restaurants inside and out?  Yes.  Gyms and Pools?  Yes, yes, yes.  Huge sporting events with thousands in the audience?  Yes.

Happier Days at the Jerusalem Marathon   —   Friday March 18 2016. (courtesy)

I would enthusiastically vote for any party with these policies as would many others!

The policy of such a government would make each citizen of Israel responsible for their own behavior.  They would have the right to take the risks they choose to take.  If they wanted to attend a large wedding they could do so, but they could also shelter at home if they were unwilling to take the risk.  A citizen would have the right to open their store, and they could mandate masks or not, and customers would have the right to go to that store or not as they saw fit given their preferred level of risk.

The government’s responsibility would be to disseminate complete information so citizens could make informed decisions.  This information would be in all languages spoken in Israel, it would be based on timely data and updated every day.  The government could give recommendations.

Various safe guards for vulnerable people could be put in place. For example, large food stores, pharmacies, and health clinics could require masks. Vulnerable people would be allowed to work or study from home if they wanted and their jobs would be secure as long as their work could be done remotely.

As for crowded hospitals:  we would use some of the taxes collected by not locking down and destroying our economy to build more hospitals, more nursing schools, and more medical schools.  Until they were open we would use IDF field hospitals and personnel if required to handle increases in hospitalization should there be any, but I suspect that there would be little difference in rate of infection.

If, God willing, it turns out that the vaccines work and the pandemic is over, these polices would nevertheless stay in place preventing such arbitrary and destructive lockdowns from ever being implemented should there be another pandemic.

About the Author
Diana Barshaw was a research scientist and professor in the field of behavior and ecology from 1988 to 2004. Starting in 2005 she spent two years writing a novel while working for Berlitz and the Berlitz Virtual Classroom as an English teacher and as the supervisor and trainer of English teachers. She also wrote a monthly column for the Jerusalem Post called ‘Wild Israel’. Currently Diana explores the wild parts of Israel and guides hikers. She has her own website (www.DianaBarshaw.com) where she describes the Israel National Trail, writes articles about Israeli wildlife, and where she is compiling a guide to hiking the trails of the Carmel Mountains.
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