This from Al Jazeera, News from the Middle East. A declaration of war against the coronavirus was announced by the Prime Minister but this war is not going well for the country.” Not only has it not generated unity, it is pitting the Jewish Zionist majority, which looks to the state as the ultimate source of authority, against the ultra-Orthodox minority, which looks to clerics to interpret the authority of a higher power.” So, for example, the ultra-Orthodox minority is insisting that their children return to school, rather than the majority who is insisting on on line or no school. The article continued to reveal more ‘horrors’. In a statement he issued, Gafni added that he was certain the “greatest [rabbinical authority] of his generation” would not lead his flock astray. Kanievski, 92, has contracted the virus himself and his muttered rulings instructing continued study and prayer despite the epidemic are blamed by some for the outbreak of the disease in ultra-Orthodox towns and neighbourhoods.Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach, spiritual leader of a Hassidic community of some 10,000, has gone even further, condemning the rabbis who instructed believers to follow official state instruction, saying these “rabbis want to curry favour with authorities”. Rokeach himself contracted COVID-19 in August, days after holding a wedding for his grandson with thousands in attendance, in violation of strict instructions on limiting public gatherings.”
Can anyone believe the irresponsibility of hosting a wedding for a thousands in attendance in violation of strict instructions. I wonder if the invitations read – come and celebrate and contract COViD-19. The Rabbi’s irresponsibility makes Trump look cautious and even rather charming. The able writing continues. Thus, while most Israeli children are stuck at home taking classes on Zoom, tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox children and youths, their teachers and parents headed back to schools starting October 19, free to spread the virus undisturbed. Television footage of children happily skipping into yeshivas (religious schools) has infuriated many. According to the health ministry, 34 percent of those infected with COVID-19 are members of the ultra-Orthodox community, which accounts for 12 percent of the population.”
Then followed an excellent analysis detailing the “Byzantine politics” existing in Israel. Why, then, has the government that bans the reopening of schools, stores, malls and restaurants and imposes harsh fines on violators, failed to enforce the law against the ultra-Orthodox leaders who preach in favour of such violations?
The answer lies in Israel’s Byzantine politics which makes the parties representing the ultra-Orthodox community essential to garnering the needed Knesset majority to form a government coalition. Political leaders mobilise ultra-Orthodox votes by courting rabbinical leaders and their political representatives, pledging handouts and favourable legislation, ignoring the fact that some of these rabbis do not recognise the values of democracy and equality. In ultra-Orthodox communities, women are banned from standing for election, religious law supersedes state law, civil marriage and same-sex marriage are taboo, and public transportation stops on the Jewish Sabbath and holidays.”
In some sense, hope is offered: The epidemic has challenged these strange rules of the game, which most Israelis have come to accept as inevitable. Residents of the suburban Tel Aviv town of Ramat Gan, which adheres to the law of the state, for example, are growing increasingly concerned about the large outbreak in the adjacent ultra-Orthodox town of Bnei Brak, which does not. They have gone as far as asking their mayor to build a “separation wall” along the municipal borders between the two communities. By now, Israelis are fatalistically expecting a third lockdown down the road, assuming that the sharp decline in the number of COVID-19 cases achieved by the second lockdown in recent days will not last. A study conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute indicates that a large majority of Arab Israelis (69 percent) and a majority among the non-ultra-Orthodox Jewish public (53 percent) believe most ultra-Orthodox violated the lockdown. On the other hand, only one percent of those who define themselves as ultra-Orthodox think that most of their community violated lockdown regulations. These perceptions feed further tensions in Israeli society.In fact, the coronavirus epidemic has exposed a festering sore threatening Israeli Jewish society more than any other conflict, including the Arab-Israeli one. Prospects of bridging the divide between those who espouse the sovereignty of the Lord and those who believe in the sovereignty of the people is akin to the prospects of blending oil and water.
The conclusion soars, quoting the Prophet Isiah:” Instead of silencing the deafening alarms and accepting this distorted reality, Israelis must learn a lesson from the coronavirus crisis and realise that a democratic state cannot exist without equality before the law. Israel has proven it knows how to defeat external enemies, but as the Prophet Isaiah warned, “your destroyers and those who made you waste shall go forth from you”.
This excellent article, excelling in content, reasoning and writing was written by a staff member of Al Jazeera
But here is my separate and independent thinking. Israel, as depicted, is a Nation Divided. Historians of the United States of America realize what that means to a nation – look to the Civil War and its continuing repercussions. Israel has many enemies and many so-called friends – Saudi Arabia and the UAE are two examples. Israel may be loosing its dominance over the United States politicians with the hopeful defeat of Donald Trump. Israeli just may be in deep and serious do-do (do you not love that expression). The coronavirus has had serious impact on corrupt governments and city states, Dubai and the UAE, for two examples.
Then this statement will be deemed as outrageous! It is too bad that the fatality rate of the coronavirus is so low. (2.6 here in the USA). If all the careless people that got it, then died, it would be over quickly. But instead they live to infect with their careless ways. They are immune but apparently only for a short period of time. So it will go on and and on and on. Today went to downtown San Francisco, a virtual ghost town. Empty hotels now host homeless people who sit around, not wearing face masks or any means of protection. So safe and sensible people, like Alexis McBride, stay away – destroying businesses and harming the economy. Is there a solution? I think so but unfortunately I was born in Canada and therefore cannot become President. Oh well, one cannot help the place of one’s birth and the medical care in Canada is so limited and inefficient that I would be deal already. So I could be Prime Minster of Canada but I would be dead already. Such as life.