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.

It appears that “Israel’s economy was one of the least damaged during the Covid-19 pandemic, compared with other OECD countries”. Encouraging. And the three leading international credit rating agencies have all affirmed Israel’s current status, which is good news for a government trying to borrow extra money.

But then we are told from an on-line news agency, known to be close to the government in Jerusalem and citing a senior Israeli official that: “the full opening of the economy will probably be in March”.

Just who are they trying to fool, and why?

First of all, Israel is an economy, which is dependent on trade. The USA and the UK are barely starting their inoculation programmes. Australia is unlikely to open its borders fully before the end of 2021. So, thousands of people in the travel and tourism industry as well as those people who need to get overseas for work are still going to face restrictions. Ooops.

But you may argue, Israel has a successful inoculation campaign, fully claimed by the Prime Minister. True, but at the moment many European countries and the WHO are playing down the importance of the ‘green card’ and who can travel with it. Another oops.

Then there is this niggling problem called corona. Despite the inoculations, the death is at 4,000 and rising. Because of a 9.1% infection rate – a stat the PM will not be seen quoting – the hospitals are full. Staff are at breaking point. Years of starving the system of new beds and trained teams are now beginning to show.

Though successful in its rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines, the country has been unable to fight the spread of pathogen among the population, thanks to mishandled policies, politically motivated decisions and unkept promises

Nadav Eyal.

I could not have put it better myself. The commentator emphasises how the government has failed to install social discipline in two large communities, which (ironically?) are those who have valued for their voting power.

For an economy to get back to a “full opening”:

  • Scores of boarded up shops will miraculously have to finance new stock and reopen.
  • At least 4,000 families will have to shake off the loss of loved ones and just return to work as normal.
  • The need for medical procedures, postponed during corona, will no longer be deemed necessary.
  • The increased social suffering behind closed doors – violence, drugs, etc – will no longer impact on people’s lives.
  • Unemployment – around 4% before corona and 15% today – will simply flitter away.

Just who is this ‘senior Israeli’ trying to fool, I asked. Who cares? There is an election due in two months. Every extra vote may count in a close contest. So the end – the fake news – must justify the means, no?

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