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.

Israel has received international praise for its rushed inoculation programme against the covid-19 virus. We can read about it in the press, on the BBC, etc. Politicians in Parliaments across the world have asked the governments to follow the example of Jerusalem.

And yet……

After 4,300 people have died from corona and around 1.100 are still in critical condition, including a worrying and rising number of children, you have to question if the decision makers in Israel are finally getting it right. To give the horrific numbers some proportion, roughly 3,500 Israeli civilians have been killed in terror attacks since the founding of the state in 1948.

Israel is almost an island. New Zealand had less than 50 deaths. In Australia, the state border between New South Wales and Victoria was closed for weeks.

  • So why did the Israeli government allow in thousands of seminary students at the beginning of the crisis, if not just to please the Prime Minister’s coalition allies?
  • Why have fines still not been sharply increased, if not just to please Netanyahu’s coalition allies?
  • Why was the first lockdown relaxed so quickly if only just …. ?
  • And why has international travel been allowed to take place if………… well, maybe in this case to please Netanyahu’s overseas friends in Washington and in the Gulf.

We read in today’s newspapers that the Prime Minister is now determined to shut down air travel, except for emergencies and trade. He is worried about the mutations. Where has he been to date? And we learn that the ultraorthodox community of Vishnitz is determined to keep open its schools. Why does he not cut off their public funding?

The election is never far away from this subject. My thoughts on the government’s ‘newspeak‘ that the economy will soon open up in full were posted last week. A day later, a TV exposure revealed the farce behind the failure of the Finance Minister to pass the state budget, for the third year running. And on Thursday, details were released of the growing state of poverty in the country.

Yes, the stock market and hightech is keeping the country’s economy afloat. Yes, the government hand outs to the unemployed are important for thousands of families.

But where is that leadership, which every country needs and deserves in a time of crisis? Where is that firm and persuasive, yet compassionate voice that speaks to everyone, regardless of their location on the political map?

If you were to manage your team, your organisation, your country, is this what you would be doing?

POSTSCRIPT:

  1. It would appear that the Vishnitz schooling system remain closed, formally, but there were a bunch of other loopholes very visible to be seen by various reporters.
  2. With some irony, New Zealand today reported its first corona case in months.

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