This is certainly one of the most difficult articles I have written in the last 12 years and it is not demagogy, but rather an alert for those living in Israel to understand the seriousness of the situation we are experiencing.
Please read to the end, and if you find it relevant you can comment here at the website, even if your comment is not in favor of my personal opinion.
These will not be words of either comfort or alarm, but rather an alert to properly prepare for the new reality that is being created in the State of Israel today in the face of the corona virus crisis.
The corona virus in general, is nothing new but the COVID-19 disease and is a new form. But the pandemic reaction it is causing is somewhat inexplicable, especially in Israel.
As the Corona arrived, it will disappear and certainly very fast *, but “speed” is relative, and we are talking about millions of contaminated citizens (they will not necessarily show symptoms of the virus). * “Time” is relative if we compare it to years or decades, some weeks end up going unnoticed in the context of history.
If you like “predictions” about the disease control officials in the US: They are saying 6 to 18 months, and that everyone will become infected – it is a matter of time. The reason for isolation is to slow down the spread so as not to overwhelm the healthcare system.
How many epidemics has humanity faced over the decades?
Over the centuries, hundreds of millions of lives have been devastated by epidemies such as the Black (Bubonic) plague that wiped out almost half of the European population in the 14th century, and the Persian plague in 1772 that killed 2 million human beings, to cite some examples.
For those who want to know more, I advise you to examine Wikipedia’s list of epidemics (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_epidemics), it is very interesting.
“Epidemic” or “Pandemic” or both in combination?
Although the terms may suggest that there is a specific threshold by which an event is declared to be an outbreak, epidemic or pandemic, the distinction is often discussed even among epidemiologists.
The “panic” factor is more destructive than the epidemic itself.
This is undoubtedly a very relevant part of our current crisis with the corona virus, or perhaps it is the essential problem of the current crisis, making the psychological factor one of the most important and damaging aspects of this current crisis.
The population continues to use masks that serve the vast majority only to enrich mask producers because their purpose is to be worn by those who are infected, to prevent the spread of the disease to those who are not. The alcohol gel used by the population is an excellent product to enrich manufacturers, but it does nothing to contain the virus. There are free and simple ways to protect yourself and others instead of using products that are not effective, however, even the government continues to encourage the population to use these expensive and unnecessary products.
Between the false and the true, there is an abyss. I advise you to read what the experts have to say on the subject in this Johns Hopkins Medicine article Coronavirus Disease 2019: Myth vs Fact.
Israel and the corona virus – crisis 2020
Never in the history of mankind (in times of epidemic) has any nation behaved as hysterically and irrationally as the State of Israel, and other nations are already “copying” the Israeli hysterical reaction.
Human rights have never been so overlooked, as quickly and easily as is happening in Israel in this crisis, but oddly enough, the population is still completely apathetic.
Crisis planning has never before been done, not by a legitimate government, but by a handful of members of a TEMPORARY parliament, in a state without government because they have not managed, even after three consecutive elections, to achieve a majority to govern as required by law (61 seats).
Never in peacetime has military intervention been granted alarmingly to the Israeli army as it is in this crisis.
I would say that the behavior of the current government is totally WINOGRADI behavior, that is, behavior out of fear of how they (the leaders) will be judged tomorrow.
The difference between our Corona virus crisis and other epidemics
The difference for most of us is very simple: we are experiencing the crisis today, here and now and we are not just reading about the crisis, and we are the ones who will pay the price for this current behavior and the bill will be very high.
You don’t use a stick of dynamite to kill a fly because even if you do manage to kill the fly, the collateral damage will be much more serious than leaving the fly alive.
The unemployment rate in Israel in November 2019 was 3.9% and remained at that level until the crisis. The last semi-official forecast from the government, was over 80 thousand new unemployed by the end of last week, but the number is now near 500 thousand new unemployed, most have applied for unemployment assistance and by the end of the month the number should reach 1 million new unemployed in the labor market, which is a real catastrophe in a population of 5 million employees.
Certainly, after the crisis the number of unemployed is expected to decrease rapidly and dramatically, but the forecast is to return to the level of less than 4% and that will take years to reach.
Unemployment Insurance Today
If you are trying to arrive in person or use the website of the National Insurance Office (Bituach Leumi) or Ministry of Labor (Lishkat Avoda) and you cannot, do not be shaken, be patient and try at different times – the website is congested.
Do not try to go in person and there is no need. The offices are not receiving any public. Do not think that unemployment insurance will be enough to support your family, and do not believe the media when they say that the government is facilitating the procedure. There is a certain flexibility, but NOTHING MORE.
After the crisis, nothing will be the same as before, but unfortunately, we are so concerned with the present that we are forgetting the future.
Not everyone will return to their jobs, hundreds of industries will close their doors forever, aviation and tourism will be back up and running, but prices will rise substantially, and so on.
As always after a crisis, the number of divorces will skyrocket (usually reaching a 20% increase after long holidays in Israel), as well as cases of domestic violence.
Avoid friction, avoid fights, take a deep breath and remember that everything will pass.
The number of bankruptcies is expected to quadruple and the legal system that was already saturated will need many months to recover.
Court cases are growing, but there can be no hearings, so the scheduled hearings will be rescheduled with later dates and months postponed. Medical appointments are being postponed for 2 to 4 months depending on the medical field – be very patient.
The number of real estate transactions that are almost nonexistent today will drop dramatically and prices will fall, but the most serious and crucial problem will be with the mortgage payments that will be delayed, as well as loans for the purchase of vehicles.
If the government does not take urgent action, we will see many properties and vehicles being taken over by the creditor banks.
Prepare for the new tomorrow
Freelancers and self-employed will be the most affected and need to reinvent themselves. What existed yesterday cannot exist tomorrow. Debts are not going to go away; government aid of 6,000 shekels is pathetic – just a drop in the ocean. If you are self-employed, remember that you will not receive unemployment insurance, but will be expected to continue to pay your bills.
The banking system and the parallel financial system
These will certainly not give up absolutely anything including interest, quite the contrary. Thousands of Israelis are receiving messages in all types of media in which low-interest loans are being offered, auto loans, very attractive new mortgages, credit cards offering loans or better payment plans to pay your debts. This is a financial trap – stay away from all these offers
The rabbinic establishment
This subject is certainly very delicate for many, including the author of this article, but I cannot afford not to criticize the attitude of the rabbinical establishment, its irrational new “rules” and the fear it has been showing.
Decreeing a quarantine on Jewish life as we have known it for more than 3000 years is a crime, and it is leaving many with an erroneous feeling that “in times of crisis everything is permitted”! Rulings such as: Cancel praying in MINYAN, closing the doors of the synagogues, canceling studies in YESHIVOT, saying that it is better to eat CHAMETZ than to catch the virus, etc.
There are those who now believe that the Chief Rabbinate of Israel should postpone PESACH! Yes, postpone the holiday and they even filed a request at the Supreme Court (BAGATZ).
What can be done to mitigate the fall?
It is advisable to try new partnerships, to reduce expenses drastically even if the level of service you are used to providing to customers is affected. Do not make long-term contracts and remember that you have been accumulating debts even with tax payments that are being postponed, but not canceled or reduced.
For wage earners (the majority of the population) it is good to remember that your vacation is part of history and if you went on unpaid vacation, but still received your salary, this is because your accumulated vacation time is being used to pay your unpaid vacation now.
Vacation or unemployment benefits are very limited. If you do not return to your job, and find yourself unemployed, you will have to compete with a much larger number of candidates for each position because there will not be enough jobs for everyone, and the salary that will be offered due to demand will be lower!
Retirement plans will be affected and for the time you have not worked, monthly fees will not be paid.
How to behave and what not to expect
Do not behave as if nothing has happened, it is not a vacation despite looking like a vacation.
These are different and complicated times that we will have to face in the near future and so start today to plan your expenses differently by cutting all the superfluous. In other words, you will have to change your lifestyle going forward.
The proverb says that whoever prepares for Shabbat has something to eat on Shabbat. Now you must prepare very methodically for the next Shabbatot because they will be difficult for everyone.
Don’t wait for the crisis to end and don’t wait until tomorrow, especially for the next near Pesach holiday, which is the most expensive holiday in the life of an Israeli. Save, do the minimum and remember that this will not be your last holiday and you will have the opportunity to do others better and more pleasurable.
Don’t expect the government to be your lifeline and don’t count on third parties. It is up to you how to control the situation today, minimizing tomorrow’s losses.
The “different” or dissonant voices
Like me, there are many other professionals in the field of law, medicine, medical research, psychology, anthropology, etc. who do not agree with the irrational attitude of the government and world leaders, but I chose to add in this article the voice of one of the most famous authors and historians of modern times: YUVAL NOAH HARARI, author of the bestsellers “Sapiens” and “Homo Deu-s .
“Many people blame the coronavirus epidemic on globalization and say that the only way to prevent more such outbreaks is to de-globalize the world. Build walls, restrict travel, reduce trade. However, while short-term quarantine is essential to stop epidemics, long-term isolationism will lead to economic collapse without offering any real protection against infectious diseases. Just the opposite. The real antidote to epidemic is not segregation, but rather cooperation.”
“Xenophobia, isolationism and distrust now characterize most of the international system. Without trust and global solidarity, we will not be able to stop the corona virus epidemic, and we are likely to see more such epidemics in the future. But every crisis is also an opportunity. Hopefully the current epidemic will help humankind realize the acute danger posed by global disunity.”