The Lockdown Turns Israel into a Human Zoo

Me demonstrating in Balfour Street against the upcoming lockdown before I left Israel

Let’s say that you need to choose between two life courses: Living for 85 years locked at your apartment without meeting anyone or seeing anything other then the house garden, or living for merely 80 years but running a normal life? The answer given to by psychological research is quite unequivocal: The vast majority of people across cultures prefer enjoyable life to longevity.

This harsh reality stands in sharp contradiction to Netanyahu’s government current policy in the battle against COVID-19. Assuming we believe that the prime minister really seeks the best of the nation and does not act to satisfy his personal interest to somehow sneak away from his upcoming trial; for years I don’t believe in Bibi’s integrity, but for the sake of the discussion I will make an effort. Still, one cannot deny that the Israeli government is about ruin the economy, disrupt international commerce, deprive citizens of their basic human rights to work, travel, pray and demonstrate, raise unemployment to unimaginable figures, and bring the standard of living back to the levels of the 1990s – just in order to extend the life expectancy of very old and often pretty sick people by a small margin.

The question is not only if it is worthy in the short run to lose a lot of money (experts’ predictions range from 15 to 40 billion shekels for a month of lockdown – obviously if its extended the costs will also raise) in order to save some lives, but also what we lose in the long run. Imagine a foreign businessman who came to Israel for some business meetings and now learns that he cannot leave the county because he did not buy his return ticket early enough. Can you imagine any country in the world – sans North Korea perhaps – that prevents its people from the basic right of leaving the country? I am not even digging into the stupidity of the warrant (when people fly away – we remain with fewer potential corona cases) and I am not talking from a position (I left Israel early enough and have no plans to return as long as the dictator from Balfour Street continues to perform his tricks). I am also not an epidemiologist, but I am a professor who teaches research methods and statistics (among other things) and can easily tell that even at the prime of the pandemic far more people die of heart attack and stroke and still nobody seriously suggests to connect the whole population to a cardiological monitoring center to make sure that no heart suddenly stops beating. We understand that the cost is too high and realize that at some point life must come to a sad ending.

This realization either accidentally skips or intentionally avoids the mind of politicians aligning with Netanyahu and supporting the lockdown. They either forget or don’t want to remember the foreign investors who will think twice if Israel is a place to do business with, when they realize that their business partners cannot meet them and in fact cannot even go to work. As the Zionist state turns from an apparent democracy into a state of the art military regime, so does its appeal sharply decrease. Soon, Israelis who can allow themselves to immigrate will start doing what they can do to part ways with their homeland. After all, who wants to reside in a place, where you need police approval to leave your house? Even if the landscape looks nice and the neighbors are kind – you cannot enjoy them. This is not to deny the potential harm of the coronavirus, but to remind that there are additional factors to consider before Israel becomes a human zoo.

About the Author
Amir Hetsroni was a faculty member at Ariel University in the West Bank. He is emigrating from Israel in order to miss the next war, earn higher wages, enjoy cooler summers, and obtain a living package that is cost-effective. He has three passports and does not feel particularly worried about anti-Semitism.
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