image Photo: Flash90

The show must go on

Hmmm, how should I begin? „Once upon a time …“ or „In a galaxy far, far away …“

The latter might be more appropriate during these futuristic days when people are required to wear face masks in public, the streets are empty as everyone hides from the infamous virus in their homes, those who venture out must have their temperature taken before being allowed into shops; as authorities regulate your social life and physical contact with others, like hugging and hand-shaking.

The ones with OCD tendencies (obsessive-compulsive disorder) might be having the time of their life as the whole world has been forced into observing intensified hygiene standards including the rigorous washing of hands and application of Alcogel or another disinfectant multiple times a day. I’ve also noticed that several of the grocery shops I go to are definitely cleaner than ever before, as the personnel continuously spray aisles and surfaces.

Women of Muslim faith may also find some solidarity in the situation, seeing how the rest of the world must now cover their faces as well.  At times like these, it may feel like we are all living in a science fiction movie.

But regardless of it all, life goes on – with the births of babies, holding of weddings and passage of birthdays and other events.

One of the recent birthday celebrants was the State of Israel. This year’s 72nd anniversary of independence was particularly memorable, as it took place under general lockdown with most ceremonies conducted virtually.

It might be time however, to disassemble the movie set and return to reality. Fairy tales and fiction novels do not often focus on the fact that there is an economy to run and that money must come from somewhere. Thus, as the virus-related statistics improved, Israel started the gradual relieving of restrictions and permitted more shops and businesses to open. Last week, children were also sent back to schools and kindergartens, allowing their parents to return to earning the much-needed incomes. More people flooded to the streets, hoping to realize some of their post-coronavirus dreams. The priorities of a certain Parisian woman of a haircut, a hug and a drink at a bar sum up the basic needs for most of the humanity; do TV7 readers agree?

Normalcy as we once knew may remain out of reach for some time to come – or perhaps forever. Face masks and disinfectants seem to be the most popular sales items everywhere these days; and along with remote thermometers, they are likely to remain with us for quite some time.

Jerusalem’s famous open-air Machane Yehuda market was allowed to reopen, albeit with considerable changes. Separated entrances and exits have been set up under police guard, as consumers with verified with body temperatures below 38 degrees Celsius hunt for bargains for vegetables, fruit or other staples. You are therefore advised to cool down during these heatwave days before heading out to shop.

What have we learned during these times? About the world, humanity, ourselves?

Many say that spontaneous, non-organized kindness has been spreading like never before. Examples include the ‘adoption’ of elderly retirement home residents by kids who keep them company with online chats; as well as fitness sessions organized by instructors for people on balconies, front yards or on the street to generate much-needed dopamine and endorphins through movement in a bid to keep the health and happiness levels up to par.

In Israel, the public is also showing increased care of medical personnel and first responders who have been under amplified stress, both at work and the home front. One startup mobilized volunteers to run errands, do grocery shopping and other tasks for overburdened hospital staff. Thus, goodness and kindness seem not to have disappeared from the face of the earth.

In the meantime, the drama around the formation of Israel’s national unity government is ongoing. The 23rd Knesset was almost sworn in yesterday; but in the end, division of ministerial portfolios proved to be a tougher hurdle than expected and the ceremony has been postponed until next week. So please keep up your good work of prayers for our country and its leadership.

And while we are on the topic of prayer – if you are and ardent follower of TV7 Israel News programs, you may have noticed our new initiative to pray for a different country every day. So, you are more than welcome to join us in lifting up different nations to heaven daily.

And as always, continue your Psalmist-inspired appeals for the peace of Jerusalem and salvation of Israel! May those who love you be secure! Shalom!