So it’s two weeks into my relative closure from the world, as we currently experience the most insanely dull apocalypse imaginable. Time for a little reflection.
First, for those who don’t know what it looks like in Israel at the moment, the restrictions have been increasing steadily almost every day. At the time of writing the rules are basically as follows: We should only go outside for necessities, walking should only be within 100 meters of our residences, and basically everything is closed except for medical and groceries.
The Restrictions Grew
At first life was mostly normal, but when things seemed to be getting worse and worse, the restrictions started piling on. And here we are. For two weeks I’ve only left my home to walk my dog, go shopping, or pick up and drop off my kids.
I work from home and love my home and my family. Being here isn’t a challenge. Being here all day every day? Well, I can certainly say it’s a bit much. And I wonder when I and others will reach our breaking point.
Time to Reflect
Some thoughts (I mean, what else am I going to do but think anyway?):
I took my dog for a walk yesterday, Shabbat afternoon. I was outside for maybe ten minutes. In that short amount of time, I saw three blatant violations of the current rules. Two were synagogues with prayer gatherings and the other was a large group of children playing together in the courtyard of my building.
I barely went anywhere, and saw all of this in my brief walk. I can’t fathom what must be happening in other places in the country. And can only imagine things will get much worse as long as so many people are willing to put their own needs ahead of those of their communities.
I am honestly appalled at the lack of consideration so many people have. Yes, I know you think you’re bulletproof, and this plague will never land on your doorstep. Even if that were true (and it’s very much not), how do you look at yourself in the mirror knowing that you sent your germy children outside as little ticking timebombs to the sick and elderly of the neighborhood, just because you needed some quiet time or didn’t have the wherewithal to entertain your kids? And how do you think God feels about the prayers of those who blatantly spread a virus that (at the time of writing) has killed nearly 50,000 people?
Fear and Confusion
And now as I walk my dog every day, I walk in total fear. Yes, I’m afraid I will contract a deadly illness or bring it back into my household. But, sadly, I’m equally afraid of getting stopped by the police and questioned as to why I’m outside or a certain distance from my home.
Certain rules make a lot of sense. They are black and white, and they are easy to enforce. Public transportation is shut down. Group sports are not permitted. Gyms are closed.
But what about rules that are subjective? Is my going outside a necessity? Perhaps I should have a pile of trash bags filling up my living room. Or I should let my dog crap all over the floor.
We are told not to walk more than 100 meters from our homes. Why 100 meters? If I walk my dog 120 meters, but avoided all contact with people along the way, and came home right away and washed my hands, am I a lawbreaker?We are told not to walk more than 100 meters from our homes. Why 100 meters? If I walk my dog 120 meters, but avoided all contact with people along the way, and came home right away and washed my hands, am I a lawbreaker? Click To Tweet
Sadly, they’re not baseless fears. I’m now hearing story after story. A friend was given a warning by the police while walking his dog. A girl was fined for walking to the grocery store! No one is being asked the appropriate questions, and no citizen is trusted. And the stories are increasing.
And so I walk the streets, fully within the spirit of the rules, not a threat to myself or others. And yet I do so in fear. And my fear of getting harassed by the police or receiving an unfair 500 shekel fine in difficult times has surpassed my fear of suffering from Coronavirus, struggling to breathe on a ventilator.
Coronavirus: Anything Else?
When I look on the Israeli news, yes, of course, it is dominated by Coronavirus. What isn’t about Coronavirus?
Nevertheless, I see two other things that bother me tremendously. First and foremost, a whole lot of discussions about politics.
A matter of months ago, we didn’t have a whole lot to talk about in Israel. All discussion was focused on the elections, and how inane it seemed that we were voting for a third time, with a huge likelihood of doing the whole thing a fourth time. Well, that, and a butter shortage.
And now all we are talking about is quarantines and social distancing, like everyone else on the face of the planet. And, frankly, the stupid elections are absolutely meaningless to me. Your political squabbles and power grabs are thoroughly unimportant. They matter to literally no one.
Politicians, Do We Care?
You, the politicians of Israel, have massive responsibilities right now. Your country is in crisis. The numbers are climbing rapidly. And your job is to keep us safe. And to reassure us that not only will we survive the Coronavirus, but we will do so without getting harassed by police officers, assaulted by spouses, and without permanent financial ruin.
And I literally couldn’t care less who’s sitting in the driver’s seat right now, so long as you do your job well.
Stop Patting Yourself on the Back
Which leads me to the other thing I keep seeing whenever the government addresses the people: A whole lot of praising itself for the incredible job it is doing.
I am forever grateful for the hard work of our medical professionals and volunteers who are working day and night, at great risk to themselves and their families. You deserve all the praise in the world.
But our leadership should stop patting itself on the back. You didn’t shut the borders when you were supposed to. Things are not improving, at all. You’re continuously piling on new rules, and simultaneously creating discord between segments of the population, confusion about details, and new fears to heap on top of all the already existing ones.
You deserve praise only on the day when your desire to protect your citizens is greater than your need to remain in power.
Stay safe, world.
And wash your damn hands!