We have been in the third nationwide lockdown for three weeks. At the same time, the vaccination campaign against the coronavirus is proceeding at an unprecedented rate. More than a million Israelis have already received the second dose and are considered immune. My son and I belong to this group. Freedom from Corona seems to be just around the corner.
But somehow things don’t seem to be working out as people hoped.
On the one hand, we are proud of the successful vaccination campaign and the praise Israel is receiving from all over the world. On the other, unfortunately, the numbers just don’t seem to be going down. Well over 8,000 new infections were registered yesterday, meaning the lockdown has resulted in no significant decrease in the spread of COVID-19. And the number of seriously ill patients is only increasing, bringing hospitals to their breaking point.
In an effort to avoid further exacerbating the situation, Ben Gurion Airport was completely shut down last night. Israel fears the entry of additional COVID mutations, and so has fully sealed herself off. The airport will remain closed until the end of this month, but already there are voices in the government saying the closure will need to last an additional week, if not more.
When will the vaccinations and lockdowns finally show positive results? Because it can't go on like this forever. Personally, I don't think we can get rid of the virus completely, we have to learn to live with it.
Yesterday evening’s news broadcasts featured stories of Israelis getting stuck all over them world due to the airport closure. And this raises of lot of questions. For instance, what should Israelis stranded in Dubai now do? How long can one extend their stay abroad, and who is going to cover the cost? Of course, it was risky in the first place to fly abroad in such uncertain times. People can be impatient, but there should have been more consideration for the fact that things can change at any moment in the Corona era.
Nothing is certain, even as we near 30% inoculate rate for the nation. We are now even hearing that we might not be able to celebrate Passover together, even though that was one of the big promises of the accelerated vaccination drive. After nearly a year of this, I don’t even know what “normal” means anymore.
But it’s not all doom and gloom in the news today. Not all our readers will be interested, but here in Israel we were pleased yesterday to find out which song will represent the nation at the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest.
The artist, Eden Alene, was already chosen last year for the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest, which had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. This year, it’s going to happen with or without Corona. And Israel will be represented by the new song with a timely title, “Set Me Free”:
Eden will compete in the first semi-finals of the competition on May 18th. The only question is whether she’ll do so on stage in Rotterdam, or remotely from Israel. We will see.
Oh, and as you can see from the photo above, Mount Hermon and parts of the north have snow! Too bad we are all still locked down to within a kilometer of our homes and can’t enjoy it…