(Denver, Colorado) — I’ve been on the Front Range of Colorado over the past week visiting family, but I was contacted by a reporter for CNBC International, asking me about the economic and political implications of the sudden and dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases in Israel.
The situation back in Israel is indeed getting very serious. Nearly 25% of all COVID cases that Israel has had since the beginning of the year have occurred in the past week, a Jerusalem Post editor reported yesterday. Some 10,000 Israelis turned out in Tel Aviv this week to protest Netanyahu’s handling of the crisis.
Here is my answers that I emailed back the CNBC reporter. You can read the full article, including quotes by other experts, by clicking here.
- In the early stages of the crisis, Prime Minister Netanyahu and his team did an incredibly impressive job containing the COVID-19 virus. The number of cases dropped dramatically. The number of Israelis being hospitalized and on ventilators dropped to just a handful.
- But since then, the government has made a series of very serious mistakes and Israel is now experiencing a second wave.
- The number of new cases has spiked to more than 1,500 a day and new lockdowns are being ordered.
- It is hard not to conclude that Netanyahu let himself get distracted. Rather than staying laser-focused on managing the public health situation and the reopening of the economy, Netanyahu was spending a great deal of his time planning for the annexation of large portions of the West Bank. As a result, the pandemic is surging again and this is causing tremendous damage to the economy and to the millions of Israelis who are out of work and struggling to make ends meet.
- I have no doubt that the government can get the pandemic back under control and successfully reboot the economy — and especially the tourism sector — but Netanyahu and his team have to stay completely focused. There is simply no time to contemplate annexation, at least until this health and economic crisis is completely behind us.
- Netanyahu is beginning to pay a political price for getting his eye off the ball. His poll numbers have dropped significantly in recent weeks for one simple reason — Israelis are angry at his mishandling of the corona crisis. He can absolutely turn things around, but let’s face it, this is the most serious drop in Netanyahu’s approval ratings that we’ve seen in quite some time.
Please pray for Israel to be able to successfully combat COVID-19 and get Israelis healthy and back to work.
OTHER ARTICLES WORTH READING:
- Virus cases [in Israel] reach daily high of 1,718 (Times of Israel)
- Support for Netanyahu dropping (Jerusalem Post)
- Public trust in Netanyahu to beat virus has ‘declined dramatically,’ poll finds — Only 29.5% of Israelis confident in the PM’s handling of coronavirus crisis, Israel Democracy Institute reports; 75% are negative on government’s performance so far (Times of Israel)
- Police arrest 20 after thousands protest poor government aid amidst coronavirus economic crisis (Haaretz)
(Photo credits: 1) Netanyahu — Gali Tibbon/Pool via Reuters; 2) chart — CNBC; 3) protest in Tel Aviv — Tomer Appelbaum/Haaretz.)
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