Much of what has been said about the second COVID-related lockdown in Israel is enduring. With all its attached hardships, I believe it’s the essential step Israel should take, even if it overlapped with my own adjustment to an everyday routine in Tel Aviv.
Ever since I stepped back into the Middle East, I felt a constant urge to slow down a bit. The pace of life here is far from steady; as media attention shifts from one scandal to another, COVID-19 constantly reminds us it is still here.
I’ll be the last person to endorse the sitting Prime Minister of Israel, yet I find a lot of reason and balance in this harsh decision. Before I shed some light on how I feel regarding this matter, I’d like to underline how Israel dealt with COVID-19.
Back in February, when New York was still hesitant in terms of blocking air traffic, Israel halted international flights and only allowed Israeli citizens in. A quarantine duty was imposed on every Israeli who returned from abroad (myself included) and the Israeli secret service monitored phone signals of Israelis, to detect if they were in contact with diagnosed COVID-19 patients.
While these actions may appear draconian, they seemed to pay off: Israel still has one of the lowest rates of diagnosed cases per capita, and the death toll is one of the lowest in the developed world. These “perks” resulted in immediate reopening of the Israeli economy back in May, but not without a price: new COVID-19 cases surged, the death toll gradually rose, and mass demonstrations took place against the government policy.
When this living history took place, I watched worryingly but cautiously, knowing it will soon become my reality. As daunting as my new unemployed status might be, I think the second lockdown is the right step towards recovery. I was granted a gift that enables me to mediate through this rough time: everyone else is slowing down too, therefore an immense social rat race does not exist. Safe from the burden of financial uncertainty due to the unemployment benefits I receive and my savings, I can look for the job that will best fit my skills and values. And surrounded by unconditional love, I know that I won’t have to go through this lockdown alone.
Lockdown is happening once more, yet new opportunities emerge. I hope to see what this new world has to offer, and reintroduce a narrative of growth and community into the Israeli arena. We’ll be in touch!