Opinion |

The Operation Was a Success, but 5,526 Israelis Died

Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat
Netanyahu presenting the 'green passport' application for vaccinated Israelis earlier this month.
Netanyahu presenting the 'green passport' application for vaccinated Israelis earlier this month.Credit: Dudu Bachar
Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is not, unfortunately for the Palestinians, friendly with Pfizer Inc. CEO Albert Bourla. But even without vaccines, the number of COVID-19 cases in the Palestinian Authority dropped sharply in January from December 2020, and the trend has continued this month. Not only in the besieged territory, the whole world is seeing a significant retreat in the number of new cases: 16 percent in the United States, 18 percent in Europe, 20 percent in Africa and a global average of 16 percent.

All of this has come without these unfortunate countries having a superhero on the level of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who in one hour has done more than his rival has done in his entire life. Even without the efforts of “our forces” to obtain the vaccines, and before that the ventilators, to which only God – and the documents that will remain classified for 30 years – are privy, including whether they were obtained honestly or with guile.

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The ways of nature are mysterious. Instead of Netanyahu beginning to compare his achievements with those of other countries, that did not vaccinate, and hold a series of appearances to celebrate the miracle he wrought – along comes nature and gives his efforts a resounding slap in the face.

Look, even the situation in the PA is better than that in Israel – and not just in the number of people who are ill with COVID-19. As the time of this writing, the PA and the Gaza Strip combined had lost 2,161 people to the coronavirus. In Israel, despite the massive vaccination drive, the number was 5,526 – 40 percent more than the PA, relative to the size of the population.

If Netanyahu had a drop of humility, he would have realized that life must follow a fixed course – rise-peak-fall. The pandemic, being part of the living world, is included in this. At the moment, so it seems, the pandemic is in its third phase, the ebb.

Still, in nature everything is open to change, and the current ebb could very well be a springboard to an even more aggressive outbreak. That is why the vaccine, even during a period of recession, is the ultimate solution to the pandemic. By the way, power – which is the handiwork of the animal world, takes the same path – for the information of every ruler. The Arabs say: “The rider does not remain the rider, and the person on foot does not remain on foot.”

Nature treats Netanyahu cynically, after all his entire election campaign is about to fall apart. There may be a flashy vaccination drive, but the proof will be in the final results. According to Google, 4,535 people have died of COVID-19 in Jordan – 444 deaths per million.

So what a wonderful show still awaits us. Netanyahu, who is in an insane race to reach his longed-for goal, has discovered just before the finish line that everyone else is already there.

Everyone is seeing a drop in the number of coronavirus infections and deaths – both for those who have already been vaccinated and for those who are on their way to being vaccinated – and also for those who are waiting for the world’s mercy. The Arabs have a saying: “When the rain falls, it falls on everyone.”

The insight here is painful: Pompous people are liable to lose their balance at any moment. A tiny pin suffices to deflate the balloon.

A person who places his achievements in the war against the coronavirus at the center of his election campaign – an immoral act in its own right – deserves to have his opponents ask him, for example, how many days have the people been in lockdown? How many people have registered for unemployment benefits? How many school days have gone to waste? And another worrying question: How many people died – some of them, according to one study, due to the poor state of the country’s hospitals?

Another insight: Even when Netanyahu does the right thing, he does it not for the right reason but rather for the sake of his arrogance. That is why there is such terrible sensitivity to each of his appearances. Ordinary people like ordinary people, not big people who remind them how small they are.

Netanyahu is too big for us. Is there a normal leader around, who in one hour can do what an ordinary citizen does in two hours, or at the very most three?

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