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Israel’s leaders must stop their coronavirus blame game

Opinion: Every Israeli sector has been accused of culpability for the spread of coronavirus, from the Haredi community that won’t abide by health measures to the teachers who won’t get vaccinated – while the politicians insist they are blameless

I have received my two doses of the coronavirus vaccine and am the proud holder of the Health Ministry’s Green Pass confirming that fact.

I agree that everyone should get vaccinated and that those who chose not to do so are delaying the end of the pandemic and increasing the risk to the health of all of us.

פראמדיק מגן דוד אדום מד"א מחסן חיסון חיסונים פייזר בית שמש
A nurse prepares to administer the coronavirus vaccine in Beit Shemesh on Monday (Photo: AFP)

 

But an even greater risk is posed by Israelis agreeing to repeatedly play the blame game imposed on us by our government.

Full of righteous indignation, we were all quick to attack the designated scapegoats blamed for the spread of COVID-19.

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Over the past year, that blame has migrated from the menacing Arab sector to the throngs of ultra-Orthodox, the unpatriotic left-wing or the upstart public servants who stood in the way of ministers. Even the judicial branch was to blame for derailing government policies.

The Israeli public at large was prepared to accept blame. After all, Israelis are known to be undisciplined, a far-cry from the cultured Europeans, and therefore the fault must lie with them.

התקהלות בחופי טיילת תל אביב
Tel Aviv residents walk along the city’s beachfront promenade during the third lockdown in January (Photo: Moti Kimchi)

 

The most recent culprits are the teachers who have not been vaccinated, who bear the blame for the continued spread of COVID-19. They alone are preventing the government from eradicating the virus.

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It is never the government that is negligent. How could it be? Leaders from nations all around the world have been calling, eager to learn how Israel’s incredible leaders were so successful in the fight against the pandemic.

These leaders, we are told, have made nothing but proper, transparent and apolitical decisions since the outbreak began. Their word is unquestionable, their personal examples impeccable and they have never, ever favored one sector over another. It’s clearly all the teachers’ fault.

Let me be clear. I do not justify any of the behaviors that have compounded the rapid spread of the virus. I opposed the mass congregations and personal choices of those who flouted health restrictions while the country was in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis.

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 הלוויה בירושלים
Thousands of Haredi men crowd together at a funeral in Jerusalem during the third lockdown in January (Photo: AFP)

 

There is a pandemic here and elsewhere around the world and it continues to exact a high price from all of us. But there is no doubt that better management of the crisis, guided by the advice of health professionals, would have mitigated some of that cost.

Rather than Israelis of all stripes being told they are at fault and accepting the blame for the coronavirus pandemic, it is time that the country’s leaders to own up to their own malfeasance and culpability, and some if not all of the responsibility.

As reported by Ynentews

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