Proud of Israel for valuing health above wealth in confronting coronavirus
March 20, 2020
I am proud to be Israeli and I am proud of my government.
In the last few days, as the coronavirus was spinning out of control around the world, Israel has consistently been taking proactive decisions, the likes of which cannot be found anywhere in the world.
I spent five days in India, and during that time, I mainly watched two news stations circle the world to explain what is happening: BBC and CNN.
Israel was not mentioned when they spoke about possible vaccines. They didn’t mention the scientists and doctors who are working towards a vaccine and suggest they are close—weeks or months away rather than a year or more.
Israel was only mentioned when tourists and Palestinians in Bethlehem became sick. Of the Israeli sick...nothing. They didn’t mention the massive numbers of Israelis who were ordered to be self-quarantined.
They didn’t mention the way the Ministry of Health is “numbering” every victim and tracking back where their point of contact was, who they caught it from, and then from that point moved forward to alert others of potential infections.
They’ll probably cover what happened in the last 45 minutes or so. Israel has done something incredible. After tracking where each person caught the virus, it became clear that the vast majority returned home from abroad (Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Spain...) and so Israel made a choice.
For the next 2 weeks (at least), ALL travelers will be forced into 14-day self-quarantine. Israelis will be forced to go home and stay home as to not infect others. Non-Israelis will have to prove that they have a place to spend that quarantine time (and not a hotel).
And how many tourists or business people coming to Israel stay more than 2 weeks (or, to be more specific, are prepared to spend 2 weeks locked into a room and unable to do any sight-seeing or have any meetings with family, friends, or business connections)?
In short, Israel has shut itself off from the rest of the world and it is the right thing to do to slow and hopefully stop the virus from spreading.
This was not an easy decision. Economically, this is a disaster for many industries but it was the right decision for the Jewish state to make because we value life above money; health above wealth. I am so proud of my country.
Paula Stern is founder and director of WritePoint Ltd. She is an Israeli mother, grandmother, blogger and tech.
This article first appeared in UnitedWit Israel.org