We must protect our citizens. It is the state’s duty to ensure that nobody dies from covid-19, the corona virus, that is running out of control through the country. This pandemic is not just a health crisis, it affects societies and their economies, increasing poverty and inequalities globally. But, no matter how many businesses go bankrupt, no matter how many cancer patients do not get their treatment, no matter how much damage is caused to the economy, we are demanding that not one virus death be allowed.
And yet, the Israeli government has made a decision to kill some 350 innocent people in 2020. A decision that we are all happy to accept. We understand that sometimes it is necessary to make a trade-off; some people must die for the greater good.
Many people will die in road accidents. These deaths are entirely preventable, but the government is unwilling to act. Reduce the speed limit and fewer people will die. With a speed limit of 5 kilometres an hour, the average walking speed of a human being, there will be very few fatal accidents. To be quite certain that there are no fatalities, have a man with a red flag walk in front of every vehicle. But this would bring unacceptable hardships to our daily lives. It is our inalienable right to roar up and down the country at speeds that were unknown just over a hundred years ago. (In the future, when we are all travelling at the speed of light, will our descendants wonder how we managed to live with 120 kph?)
Worldwide, governments are unmoved by the deaths of their citizens in car crashes. In 2019, nearly 40,000 people lost their lives in preventable accidents. There is no-one to take responsibility for these deaths, government ministers are quick to claim credit when there is an improvement in the death toll but blame drivers when it rises.
This is not to say that we should ignore covid-19 and let millions die. That would not be a wise way to handle the pandemic. But perhaps there is a middle way that would allow our economy to survive with an “acceptable” number of deaths. Instead of hysterical lock-downs and shut-downs, we should decide what price we, as a country, are prepared to pay for some normality in our lives. This is why we have a government with access to economists, doctors and health experts, police and public order specialists. As Yom Kippur, approaches they must make the terrible decision – who shall live and who shall die.
גמר חתימה טובה
G’mar Chatimah Tova