Afternoon Tea in Jerusalem Blog

In addition to my work as a business coach, one of my interests is blogging about life in Israel. This is a country full of contrasts – over eight million citizens living in an area the size of Wales. You can see snow and the lowest place on the globe in the same day. Although surrounded by geopolitical extremes, Israel has achieved a decade of high economic growth. My work brings me in contact with an array of new companies, exciting technologies and dynamic characters. Sitting back with a relaxing cup of strong tea (with milk), you realise just how much there is to appreciate in the Holyland. Large or small operations, private sector or non profit, my clients provide experiences from which others can learn and benefit.

This time last week, international media sites were reporting how Israel is leading the world in inoculating its population. The BBC, The Washington Post et al discussed how the Holy Land had already handled 12% of the first round and is pressing ahead.

I could be cynical and say that it was the week of New Year and before the ‘coup fracas’ in Washington DC. There was little else to write about. In Israel, the Prime Minister made sure that his face was seen next to this positive statistic.

Israel has certainly pulled out all the stops to ensure that just about all those over the age of 16 and who want to be vaccinated will have been jabbed by the end of March. Deliveries from Pfizer and Moderna have been stepped up, but is this just because of our Prime Minister?

As we learned in the weekend press, tt seems that there are two key reasons why these companies have upped their cooperation levels with Israel. First, it has been explained to the companies that the four health funds in the country provide an amazingly efficient platform for a national inoculation campaign. After a few teething issues, that has proved to be the case.

Second, because of the nature of this strategy, the country can monitor the effectiveness of the inoculation. This is medical data of the highest quality. The results – not private information – will be shared with the manufacturers.

What we also learned from the press is that Israel has been forced to enter its third lockdown from Friday. Actually, this was originally set for two weeks ago, but few listened and there was no police enforcement. So as shop owners were forced to close, the infection left to over 6%. Serious cases currently stand at nearly 1,000, while the overall death rate is galloping towards 4,000.

Why was a lockdown was never enforced properly until now? Certainly, this would have impacted directly on some of the PM’s core coalition constituencies. And so I am writing this from home and not my office.

But what really disgusts me was how certain interest groups have been prioritised – or not – when it comes to receiving the inoculations. I read on the weekend that employees at the office of the Prime Minister have been placed towards the top end of the queue. However, special ed teachers – the one section of the education system still operating this week – have not!

Are you surprised? This is a country that has already had three election campaigns in two years. In the first, the Arab community was mocked by the leading party of government. Then it was the turn of women, and after that those with speech defects.

It will be election number 4 on 23rd March. Take a bow all those wonderful educators for stepping forward to be the latest whipping kids of the government.

What I have learned from this inoculation campaign is that it is going well, and this has little to do with the efforts of the Prime Minister. His role has been to delay other decisions – ie, the enforcement of what should have happened 12 months ago and could have saved countless lives and businesses.

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