Corona Virus: More Questions & More Political Intrigue in Israel

Some in Israel are questioning the national restrictions to fight the Corona virus.  Are they really based on science or alarm which goes too far?  For example, who is it dangerous for someone to take a walk outside for more than ten minutes if they keep six meters away from those they pass?  How is ten minutes safer with this two meter rule than 30 minutes?  We are allowed to go to the grocery store or to take out stores, other food stores and pharmacies. That is more dangerous than a walk outside.  Some people are required by their health conditions to go for walks. 

Or here is another question.  Why wouldn’t it be more prudent, once there is sufficient testing to know virus location spots, to put the strict restrictions on cities and towns that have the virus and allow those within a town without any cases to have freedom, but to not leave the town except to commute to a safe workspace.  We know where the hot spots are.  There are places with no infections.  Within those enclaves, there could be more freedom.   In the United States, why wouldn’t this work really well for small cities and towns with no cases, rather than restricting the whole country?  In Israel there are places with no infections.  Should they be under the same standards as the areas where there are infected people?

In the midst of all this the political chaos in Israel continues to be even more amazing.  I am asking my Facebook constituents to be praying for us, especially this week.   Here is a little summary.  Last week, Benjamin Netanyahu’s (Bibi) justice minister (Ohana) unilaterally postponed the trial of Bibi until May 24th.  The corona virus was the given reason.  However, many pointed out that at this point the trail would be sharing information and dealing with preliminaries that could have been done safely.  It seems that this will not be challenged in the Supreme court.

The second amazing thing is the speaker of the Knesset (Parliament), Yuli Edelstein, shut down the Knesset.  The virus was given as the reason.  However, most believe that the reason was political.  If the parliament meets, though there is not yet a new executive government with the ongoing stalemate, the Knesset can vote to remove Edelstein and choose a new speaker that is not Likud.  There are probably 61 votes, a one vote majority, to do this.  The big issue then would be to form an arrangements committee.  If the anti-Bibi 61 have require a one vote majority on this committee than they can arrange for laws to be voted on.  The big fear from Bibi and Likud is that they will then arrange the passage of a law stating that an indicted person cannot serve as Prime Minister.  President Reuven Rivlen (Likud) has called on Edelstein to open the Knesset and said democracy is at stake.  The legal advisor to the Knesset has given the same opinion.  Blue and White lead by Benny Gantz says that they will go to the Supereme Court to see that the Knesset is open. Now Edelstein is relenting and says he will open the Knesset on Monday.

In the midst of all this, the Times of Israel says that Gantz is now open to serving in a unity government with Netanyahu leading for either an emergency 6 months or in a three year unity with Bibi serving 18 months, but then having to relinquish leadership to Gantz after that.  This would have to be made law so Bibi could not back out.  However, two of his Blue and White partners, Boggie Yaalon and Yair Lapid, say they are against this, and if Gantz does this, it will break up the party. 

All this is going on in the midst of the virus plague. I think Gantz is seeking to be a stateman and wants the best for Israel in this plague situation.  He is willing to give up his pledge to not serve with an indicted Prime Minister for the sake of Israel’s present need.  Of course, if Bibi is found guilty (who knows how long the trial would take) he would have to step down.

Israel is now in a terrible situation politically and economically.  Sectors of the government can not function without a normal government.   Major sectors of the economy are shut down.  People are in isolation.  Businesses are going out of business and many people do not have back up funds to survive.  We have people in our own congregation who are in very difficult straits.  Meanwhile we, in our connected network, pray for revival.  Do pray much with us!