More than half of the population has already been vaccinated at least once. But the number of corona infections is still high.
“If Israel could have planned any longer, the vaccinations would have failed. So it had to be improvised – and we are world champions at that! ”Nachman laughs when he comes from the vaccination center in Beersheva, which was still a youth club until the end of December. He has just received his second dose of vaccine. At 76 years old, he has been through several wars. What is a vaccination?
Experimental laboratory in the world
Israel – as the world’s testing laboratory for vaccinations. With Nachman, almost two in nine million Israelis have their second dose behind them. Three million received their first vaccination. A rapid pace that no other country can even come close to. But there is a problem: the number of infections is also increasing rapidly. No other country in the world has had so many lockdown days.
This is due to the British mutation of the virus. Health experts say. And this is due to the government’s incomprehensible zigzag course. They lock everyone in lockdown, which is then not controlled at the most vulnerable sources of infection.
Professionals instead of politicians
It only works with vaccinations, because politicians stay out of it: The vaccination campaign is now exclusively in the hands of health authorities, polyclinics and hospitals.
The government, on the other hand, is more divided than ever. Nothing goes logically with lockdown. The last official act was the closure of air traffic. On Friday there was only one flight to Frankfurt: On board 30 passengers with special permits, such as cancer patients. 50 Israelis who are stuck abroad were booked for the return flight.
This should keep the arrival of the new and more dangerous mutations from London and Cape Town firmly under control. But the crisis cabinet could not agree on an extension of the ongoing lockdown.
The blue-and-white party is sitting in the cabinet with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud. In the upcoming election campaign, however, she belongs to the opposition. She only wants to agree to an extension “if it really applies to everyone and is implemented without exception”. This is to be ensured by a drastic increase in the penalty fees against objectors. They are mainly found in two groups. In Israel’s Arab towns, where the lockdown restrictions are only loosely observed by many. But where police controls only take place very sporadically. The lockdown is also hated in residential areas with the majority of strictly devout Jewish residents.
The Orthodox take an active part in the vaccination campaign, but refuse to close their teaching houses. When the police tried to carry out checks, there was a fight. With injured students and police officers.
On Friday there were promises of important rabbis to stop teaching after all. Only next week will tell whether this applies.
New elections on March 23
Political dimensions are opening up that could be very dangerous for Netanyahu before the March 23 election. He does not want to anger the Orthodox parties, his most loyal allies. But what can scare off secular voters.
Trial of Netanyahu
Opposition leader Jair Lapid reminds of another political weakness: “It would not be the first time that a lockdown would suit the prime minister because an appointment in court has to be postponed again. Where our prime minister has to answer for bribery, embezzlement and corruption. “
Netanyahu is still receiving growing popularity in surveys due to the success of the vaccination. Now the 35-year-olds who were actually only planned for March are being vaccinated. Graduates also get their turn. And pregnant women at risk with previous illnesses are vaccinated. Doctors’ confidence in the vaccine grows as the vaccination coverage increases.
But at the same time the impatience of the population grows in lockdown. It shows up in traffic, which is increasing day by day despite the lockdown – people want to work or just get out. Or in the social networks: video clips show how “selectively” bans are imposed. With pictures from the branch of a large supermarket chain that is allowed to sell “food” in its halls. But in which clothes and toys are also sold. While hundreds of retail stores are going bankrupt at the same time. In addition, no food may be sold in markets with “customer traffic in the fresh air” – which also causes displeasure.
Chief physicians against lockdown
The understanding of the population is being lost. Because none of the more than 20 chief physicians in the country considers a comprehensive lockdown to be necessary. The situation in the intensive care units is no longer critical.
Vaccination emergency among Palestinians
And the Palestinians? The situation in hospitals in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is still under control. But there is a lack of vaccinations. The Russian vaccine was missing last week because the transport via Jordan didn’t work out. Now Israel wants to take over the refrigerated transport. And then other vaccines should also be inoculated.