More than a year after its outbreak, the world is still grappling with Covid-19. More than three million people have died from the virus, and in some countries, the pandemic is still spreading despite at least six companies that manufacture vaccines. At the same time, Israel has revoked the instruction to wear masks in open spaces, completely reopened its schools and entertainment facilities, and Covid numbers are dropping. With more than half the population inoculated, Israel seems to have overcome the virus.
This is a precarious situation for the State of Israel. People always feel that Israel is winning at their expense, and Covid will be no exception. While they are dying in droves, we are celebrating our reclaimed freedom. While their economies are crashing, ours is quickly recovering.
Therefore, I think we have to spread the message that the only justified reason for taking off the masks is to smile at each other, but sincerely, from the heart. The smile, or rather the feeling behind it, is the real cure for the virus. If Israel uses the opportunity it’s been given to increase its solidarity and unity, it will become a positive example to the world. If it uses it to revert to the old and nasty ways, the world will turn against us.
There is only one thing that can help humanity against Covid-19: connection. It may be hard to do, but it is easy to understand that only if countries work together, if there is solidarity, it will be possible to defeat the virus. As I’ve written in countless articles and two books, the leader in connection must be Israel. It is our role, our duty, to set an example of unity, yet it is the one thing we are not doing.
We can look at the break from the virus we’ve been given as an advance that the world has given us, but if we don’t pay back with connection, it will demand its debt. The frozen state of the world, its paralysis, can only be thawed by Israel’s example of warmth among ourselves. This is the only example that we need to give, and the nations will know how to use it to their benefit. But if we don’t start, nor will the world. The onus is on us, and so is the reward or punishment.
For more on this topic, refer to the books Like a Bundle of Reeds: Why unity and mutual guarantee are today’s call of the hour, and The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism, Historical facts on anti-Semitism as a reflection of Jewish social discord.
[Pedestrians cross a street as Israel rescinds the mandatory wearing of face masks outdoors in the latest return to relative normality, boosted by a mass-vaccination campaign against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Tel Aviv, Israel April 18, 2021. REUTERS/Amir Cohen]