A strange day. Israel is trying hard to put on a positive face. Last night, the annual ceremony in Jerusalem, with speeches, fireworks, 12 persons chosen from every corner of society to say a few words about their place in their country, and the lighting of the national flame. The gentle-faced President speaks to the people. Then happy songs, colourful staging and more fireworks. But, of course, no physical audience and certainly social distancing.
On local TV stations, movies and documentaries reminding us of the difficult road to independence. The sports channels were not excluded; they showed the film of the massacre of the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972.
But of course, the focus was on the positive aspects of where we are today. This morning, 4 single-engine planes from the IAF swooped across Tel Aviv to honour the health workers. Cameras showing the pilots, their view of the city; showed them streaking across the sky in formation, and showing the excited health workers, standing on roofs and balconies of hospitals, waving the national flag. (I am told that similar scenes occurred in other major population centres).
I live in Israel. Because my Hebrew is still ‘limited’, I don’t watch only local news. I listen to UK radio, watch UK and US TV channels, I read a couple of online sites for global news. And I keep in touch with friends who are dotted around the World.
Sitting up here on our pretty roof garden, it’s possible to slip into a different world of ‘I’ll be OK’. Every few minutes, birds land up here, stare, chirp, drink. But the mood is temporary. Emergency vehicle sirens wail every few minutes. The sound of a vehicle is rare; the silence is dominant. It’s like the difference between lonely and alone. Forced silence is too quiet.
The general attitude of course is that we shall get through it and begin the re-start. But there are so many worrying reminders of what we face –
– Until the final annihilation of the virus, social distancing and the wearing of some face-covering when in close proximity of others will become the norm.
– UK’s figures of fatalities will rise dramatically, for today they started including the deaths in care homes.
– There are worries of ’something new’ attacking children. Watch this space.
– Experts are watching out for mutation of the virus, which would complicate its eventual destruction.
– Easing of restrictions will inevitably result in some surges of the virus. The ‘united’ States best illustrate this quandary: the Federal government leaves the 50 individual state governors to make their own decisions. I hear reports from spokespersons from around the World. Right now, an independent journalist from Switzerland, which is not the best example of victory against Corona, where they are permitting children under 10 to be hugged…
– I look at the World and try to separate the countries where statistics appear to be logical (i.e. honest). Then I look at the deaths per million and already a dramatic picture appears. U.S. is sadly high, but many countries are, sadly, much higher. Belgium at the top.
I heave a sigh of relief that Israel appears to have done ‘very well’. But we know that we are in the ‘old age’ category, and shall have to continue the limited restrictions for the foreseeable future.
And shall we all join the class action against China? Only Pro Bono lawyers can apply. Does the latest news about British Airways, Virgin, EasyJet etc. mean the expansion of China Airways?
Oof! I’m digressing…
I wish you all well. May we soon revive the hug, the kiss on the cheek, the accidental bump in the street and the multi-handling of the tennis ball.
April 29, 2020