The second lockdown could have far-reaching consequences for the future of the liberal Israelis living in the Land of Israel. It is expected to accelerate the pace at which they are leaving the country. It is a lockdown that proves that Israel is being managed very badly, relative to other advanced nations, which could be immigration targets for liberal Israelis.
These Israelis, in contrast to religious, traditional-religious, right-wing and ultranationalist Israelis, will not live in Israel because of a biblical past or a divine promise. They will live in Israel if it provides them with the standard of living, the social services and the personal freedoms that they want.
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The colossal failure of management that led to the second lockdown, the inability to take effective and science-driven decisions and to enforce them consistently, to formulate good policy in advance and to behave in a calm, organized manner rather than descending to pathological levels of chaos and disorder – all these prove that Israel is incapable of giving liberal Israelis the life they want.
In addition, to a large extend this lockdown was not their fault, but they – who pay most of the taxes in the state – will be forced to bear its intolerable economic cost for years to come, including a toll on the future they would like to give their children.
Israel is a very profitable deal for Haredim and for settlers, but it screws over its liberal citizens and treats them like slaves. From an economic perspective, Europe, Canada, Australia and parts of the United States offer much better, and above all much more fair, deals.
The lockdown makes this truth starkly clear. It is a very extreme measure that wreaks havoc on the livelihood, the quality of life, the standard of living and the most basic freedoms of liberal Israelis, without being limited in duration. It also does not promise results, as the scientific disagreement surrounding it shows. Many senior epidemiologists and public-health professionals are against this lockdown and propose alternatives that are likely to produce better, and definitely less harmful, results.
Liberal Israelis respect science. They understand rational thought. They received sufficient information in order to recognize that this lockdown could have been avoided. They also recognize that some of the restrictions that it involves are political, discriminating against them in favor of religiously observant Israelis.
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So, as if it weren’t enough that the economic package that Israel offers them even without the coronavirus and the lockdown screws them over, the lockdown itself screws them over. Overall, the Israel of the second lockdown appears to be a state that brutalizes and oppresses them and doesn’t offer them a future. To them, personal happiness is more important than national self-determination. They’d rather live better somewhere else than sink in the slough of despond in their national homeland.
And then they look at the opinion polls and see that the man who is responsible for the egregious failure in managing the lockdown leads in the polls, and they watch the rise of his more messianic, more religious, further-right successor, Naftali Bennett. Their own political camp is at the bottom of the polls, its corpse laid before them: without a leader, without a party, without a way forward.
The demonstrations outside the prime minister’s home on Jerusalem’s Balfour Street put a bit of color in their cheeks – Netanyahu is falling – but a solid majority of Israeli Jews are right-wing and religious, and they want their money. Israel’s Arabs are mainly outside of the political game, and despite the cancellation of the partial annexation, the occupation persists. The two-state solution appears far away and unrealistic, the binational apartheid state is closing in from all directions. After the lockdown, we’ll flee.