Vacation Days, Family Celebrations and New Corona Regulations

After a few days of vacation and a wedding, we are facing new corona restrictions

Allenby Street, Tel Aviv. Photo: Dov Eilon

After a few days of vacation, during which, among other things, I took our eldest son under the chuppah and only four days later celebrated the brit mila of my brother-in-law’s newborn grandson, I am now sitting in front of my laptop again to greet you, dear readers.

It was indeed an unforgettable vacation, even without flying abroad, which has become almost impossible again now that one country after another is added to the “red list.” It was all about family. Our oldest son has been a married man for a week already, a new phase of life begins, not only for him and his wife, my first daughter-in-law, but also for us. The wedding was a special experience, even if it had rained like crazy on the evening of the wedding. That didn’t bother us. Only the fact that my sister had to participate via Zoom made me a bit sad. However, this sadness was immediately replaced by enormous joy when the glass was broken under our son’s foot. A great moment.

After all the family celebrations, my wife and I used one of our last days off for a trip to Tel Aviv. During the week the city is much emptier than on the weekends. And the tourists were also missing again. No sooner had the sky over Israel been opened to them than the government closed the country’s borders once again. The fear of Omicron seems too great.

Join our German editor Dov Eilon on a stroll through Tel Aviv:

So Tel Aviv seemed emptier than ever before. There was even parking right on the beach promenade. We took a short walk from the beach towards the Carmel Market (Shuk HaKarmel) and back to the beach promenade.

It was relatively empty on Tel Aviv’s beachfront. Photo: Dov Eilon

It felt good to switch off a bit while strolling through town. I thought about how things will go on with Corona and Omicron. On the streets you don’t feel any of the panic that is conveyed by the media. There are said to be 84 Omicron-infected people in Israel, while many countries in Europe will soon be included on the red list, meaning Israelis will be prohibited from visiting them. In addition to Great Britain and Denmark, the list now also includes Germany and the United Arab Emirates. And new countries can be added every day.

At the entrance to the Carmel Market it was a bit livelier. Photo: Dov Eilon

When we got home in Modiin, I turned on the television for the evening news. The government has decided on another Corona measure, which quickly caused unrest and much debate. The so-called “Green Passport” (Tav Yarok) will be enforced at malls and large shopping centers from tomorrow (Friday). This means that those who do not have a Green Passport are only allowed to enter the shopping centers to buy groceries, medicines and drugstore items, or to visit a doctor. What really got people talking was Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s proposal to enforce this measure by having vaccinated or recovered people (those with a Green Passport) wear a special bracelet while inside the mall to easily identify them. The managers of the shopping centers reacted with indignation, insisting  that they were not prepared to label customers according to their vaccination status and thus to divide them into two classes. It is also impossible for the shops to control who wears an wristband and who does not. They threatened not to cooperate with this order. Yesterday evening, the Ministry of Health announced that there would be no distribution of wristbands, but that the Green Passport would have to be shown when entering the shopping centers from tomorrow in order to be able to move freely in all shops. At the moment nobody knows how the whole thing is going to be carried out.

Allenby Street, Tel Aviv. No trace of Omicron. Photo: Dov Eilon

I am very curious to see whether this will actually happen. How can they hope to actually control something like this? Let’s wait a little longer, tomorrow we’ll know more. I’m not sure this is the right way to convince people to get vaccinated.

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