Living in Parallel Worlds

On the one hand, we hear constant panic about the Omicron variant, but then we do outside and everything seems normal

| Topics: Hanukkah, Coronavirus
Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

We are in a strange time. When you turn on the TV, you get the impression that we are again in the midst of a desperate fight against Corona. The major news broadcasts all seem to be focused on the Omicron variant. Israel has again closed itself off to tourists from abroad and Israelis who return from their vacation suddenly find themselves in the newly-reopened Corona hotels. But when I walk outside through the streets I don’t see any panic. Everything seems to be completely normal.

“What are they talking about on TV?” – one might ask. Even the “Green Passport” doesn’t really seem to be enforced everywhere. It’s as if there are two parallel worlds, the world that is dominated by fear of Corona and the completely normal world. In the second, normal world we have enough problems of daily life to deal with without Corona, such as the increasing violence in the south, where Bedouins throw stones at buses, shoot wildly in the air or harass Jewish girls on the street. The Israel Police are struggling to tackle the lawlessness in the Negev.

And then there is the unfortunate, ongoing topic of traffic accidents, in which many more people are killed than those who die to Corona. It’s a shame that we haven’t yet developed a vaccine against bad driving. And what about the never-ending traffic jams? Or the high cost of living? (Tel Aviv was just named the most expensive city in the world in which to live.)

Don’t get me wrong, I’m by no means a corona-denier, but it is time we learned to live with it. As it stands, the new Omicron variant seems to be far more harmless than initially feared. There are currently four or six people infected with the variant in Israel. And nobody is really sick. It is still the fear of the unknown that leads the world’s governments to often-extreme measures.

And in the midst of it all, we celebrate Hanukkah.

No sooner had Israel finally opened up to tourists than it was again closed, and at Hanukkah and Christmas of all times. Our Prime Minister Naftali Bennett advised us on Friday not to fly overseas, but yesterday it became known that his own wife had flown with their children on vacation abroad. It’s strange. Shouldn’t he lead by example and follow his own advice? Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is also planning a private vacation after his official visit to England.

Back to the normal. Last night we lit the fourth Hanukkah candle, and of course the Sufganiot were ever present, which is often a real problem for me. Yesterday I managed to eat only half a Sufgania, after all, I want to fit into the suit for our son’s wedding in the coming week.

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