“Dealing laxly with the pandemic is a problem”

The number of corona infections in Israel has exploded, and the government decided on the second lockdown. The people in the country are already feeling the consequences of the crisis, reports Jenny Havemann from on site.

IsraelIn view of the increased coronavirus infections, the government has imposed a nationwide “lockdown” with extensive restrictions on citizens from Friday. The number of new infections has risen dramatically recently. For four days in a row, record values ​​were recorded in the past week. According to Johns Hopkins University (as of September 14, 2020) there have been around 157,000 confirmed so far Coronavirus-Infections in Israel, there are currently more than 40,300 active diseases.

The renewed lockdown hits the economy and people hard in the country – and it falls in the middle of the important holidays in Israel. How is the population dealing with the crisis?

Jenny Havemann lives with her husband and three children in Ra’anana Tel Aviv, she has lived in Israel since 2010. The entrepreneur founded a company there, but also regularly gives lectures in Germany on topics such as Israeli politics, innovations and anti-Semitism. For t-online she reported on the situation in the country during the Corona-Pandemie:

Life in the corona risk area

The situation in Israel is not easy after the rapid increase in corona infections. Now there is a new lockdown from Friday. The decision to start on that day has to do with the Jewish calendar. Then the high holidays, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and immediately after a week of Sukkot begin.

The entrepreneur lives with her husband and three children in Ra’anana near Tel Aviv. She is experiencing the consequences of the corona pandemic on site. (Source: Michal Sela)

Most of the days out of this three-week lockdown would have been school holidays anyway. So it’s not a special change for the children. For parents and the economy, however, the lockdown is a very big problem. Many spend their vacation abroad during the holidays. Because Israel has closed its borders and is considered a risk country abroad, most of them stay here and have therefore booked hotels in Israel. But they cannot take advantage of these bookings now, because we are not allowed to move more than 500 meters from our own house.

Problems in kindergartens

The rising number of corona cases can already be felt. Since this week we have been receiving instructions from our five-year-old son’s kindergarten that we have to pick him up well before 4 p.m. (normal pick-up time). Yesterday at 3 p.m., today at 2 p.m. The reason is that many kindergarten teachers are in quarantine and the city suffers from a lack of staff. Some of these messages come at very short notice. I picked up several children from kindergarten on Monday and brought them home because other parents couldn’t react so quickly.

Many parents write to the city administration complaining that we pay full price for afternoon care without getting it. At the first lockdown, the city administration compensated these failures financially.

Lockdown during the holidays

Before the holidays, all hell breaks loose in Israel even without Corona, especially in the supermarkets. But there is an additional difficulty during the pandemic: not all people are allowed into stores at the same time. In small shops there are sometimes only four people at a time. Taking children with you to go shopping is therefore impossible.

Lod: Protesters shout slogans in a megaphone during a protest critical of the government outside Ben Gurion Airport ahead of the departure of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for the United States.  (Source: dpa)Lod: Protesters shout slogans in a megaphone during a protest critical of the government outside Ben Gurion Airport ahead of the departure of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for the United States. (Source: dpa)

The reactions in the population to the second lockdown, however, are very different. People whose economic existence is now hanging by a thread are understandably angry. Business owners are calling for help from the state and threatening that they will refuse to close their shops and restaurants if that help is not given. Many are currently using the week before the lockdown to go out again in the evening. I’ll meet two friends tomorrow evening, wearing a mask, of course.

Pandemic hits economy hard

Dealing laxly with the pandemic is already a problem. Many bars and restaurants in Tel Aviv do not adhere to the restrictions either. Even in the evening I often saw full bars and friends told me that people there hardly ever wear masks.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Israel became the first country in the world to adopt a second lockdown on Friday.  (Source: imago images / Xinhua)Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Israel became the first country in the world to adopt a second lockdown on Friday. (Source: Xinhua / imago images)

The current crisis has already set the country’s economy four years back; according to statistics from the Central Bureau of Statistics, consumption has fallen by around 13 percent. Israel that before the Corona-Krise had almost full employment, is now faced with about 15 percent unemployment. A friend of mine lost her job at the first lockdown. Fortunately, she found a new one just before the second lockdown.

Ultra-Orthodox do not obey any requirements

In addition, there is a very unstable political situation in the country. For weeks people have been demonstrating against corruption, against Netanyahu, against the government. A kind of corona emergency government has been formed from Netanyahu’s Likud, Gantz’s Blau & Weiss alliance, the two ultra-orthodox parties and a few smaller parties.

And that’s exactly where the problem lies: while Netanyahu and Gantz are basically concerned with keeping the economy going, the ultra-Orthodox are boycotting anything that their voters don’t like.

Ultra-Orthodox in Jerusalem: The devout Jews are particularly affected by the Corona crisis in Israel.  (Source: imago images / ZUMA Wire)Ultra-Orthodox in Jerusalem: The devout Jews are particularly affected by the Corona crisis in Israel. (Source: ZUMA Wire / imago images)

The ultra-Orthodox in the country often do not adhere to the Corona requirements, especially in schools or at celebrations. Time and again, videos and pictures were shared on Twitter by Israeli journalists showing thousands of ultra-Orthodox attending wedding celebrations in halls without masks or distance. They also refuse to accept the restrictions during the High Holidays, for example only ten people are allowed to pray in a synagogue at a time.

I very much hope that we in Israel can reduce the number of infections again. In the end, a lot will depend on the lockdown and whether the police are able to enforce the corona measures.

Important NOTE: Under no circumstances does the information replace professional advice or treatment by trained and recognized doctors. The contents of t-online.de cannot and must not be used to make independent diagnoses or to start treatments.

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