Israel’s transition government has announced a series of new measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus. The number of confirmed cases of infected Israelis doubled since Friday to more than 250 cases as of this morning, marking a staggering tenfold increase since just week ago.
In a televised address to the nation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the devastating global impact of the rapidly spreading contagion. “There are thousands of dead across the world,” he pointed out, saying, “Unfortunately, in Italy, it has already passed 1,200; in Spain hundreds, and the number is rapidly increasing. President [Donald] Trump has declared a state of emergency in the United States; and stock exchanges fall, rise, and then fall again. The situation [and its severity] are clear to all. ”
And while the global pandemic evidently caught many countries unprepared, Israel’s leader asserted that the efforts by the government, combined with the public’s commendable discipline, have yielded positive results in the collective struggle to limit spread of the disease. “What we have done, both as a government and you as citizens with the discipline you show, has placed us in a better position than most countries of the world.”
“In Israel, we will treat this episode as an ongoing event,” Netanyahu said, underscoring that “the disease is changing, we learn about it all the time. We are in touch; I am in contact with leaders. Our top team of both scientists and Ministry of Health personnel as well as others are in constant contact with their counterparts. We learn from each other and we try to remain one step ahead of the disease, and ahead of the world.”
Further emphasizing that “we can not only overcome this crisis, we can also defeat the virus,” Netanyahu said, while urging continued vigilance. “We will have to embrace a new routine for the required time period and implement measures that will allow us to limit the rate of disease spread and ensure our health systems are able to carry the burden,” he stated, stressing “And again, the goal here is literally saving lives. ”
“We are at war. Our enemy is the virus and the virus is invisible. And in order to defeat it, and we can defeat it, we are dependent on the actions of every single one of you the citizens of Israel. That is, we must together, as a government and as citizens, do everything in order not to infect and not to be infected. Once this is understood, everything will work out,” he added.