A letter from Tel Aviv

Dear readers,

The streets are empty; there is a run-on-food and its derivative, toilet paper, and the present battle against an invisible enemy has struck more fear into peoples’ hearts than the very many missiles which have been lobbed at us from Gaza.

During the many attacks on Israel, the major worry of most Israelis has been “where do I find parking”, even though a warhead may be flying at you. But corona has succeeded in instilling fear where Hamas and Hezbollah failed.

How has this impacted me? Well I am seventy years old, and fit as a fiddle except for back pain which I have had all my life. According to the TV medical experts of which there are many, I am in a threatened target group, not only because of my age, but because I had asthma in the past. Of course, fat people, smokers, alcoholics, drug addicts, workaholics appear to be better off than a fit 70 year old-which says a lot about all the expertise that floats to the service during a crisis.

It’s my experience that the number of experts stands in reverse relation to their ability to solve the problem. The more experts, the fewer solutions. Israel has more Middle East experts than a cow has flies near its butt. Back ache specialists are a dime a dozen-and the conflict is a hundred years old and my back still hurts.

My guess is that mass media’s peddling all this fear will backfire. At one point, people are going to say if everything is so dangerous, I might as well have a good time, get drunk, have sex and a good meal before I am struck down. But of course, media has become a source of entertainment, and this is a great story. I am sure that clap or genital warts have infected more people than corona in the last few months, certainly in Tel Aviv. But that’s not the story de jour.

And if you ask me, the government is peddling fear because as long as the public fears, the anger won’t be turned on the government, which has paid for many ridiculous things over the last decade except for health care. We have promoted Jewish education in the diaspora, financed many religious causes, built illegal settlement, purchased a plane for Netanyahu, developed warheads that can kill a mosquito on a terrorists’ bum in downtown Tehran, but our health care lack sufficient bandwidth. So of course the politicians want the public to fear. It’s working till now, because the Israelis know how to complain, but have yet to turn their complaints into action.

The only thing that really worries me more than choking to death is the breakdown of social order. It’s a matter of weeks until mass poverty takes the spotlight; most people need two salaries to survive. Older people need their savings which are being ravaged. Soon, there will be no economic life left at all. So instead of people dying of corona, they may die in civilian strife. A lot of the solidarity I read about on social media is a lot of hokum. In the end, it will take massive force to maintain law and order when there is no money left. That’s my worry-the breakdown of social order, not coughing and a fever.

So my dear readers, no OD today, just the ramblings of yours truly on yet another day of gruesome isolation.

Be well.



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12 thoughts on “A letter from Tel Aviv

  1. Mass poverty would indeed be the next logical step. My sister, a nun living in France, lives and works in a religious order accustomed to living daily close to hunger, illness and human suffering and dying. Nuns were the ones who, out of necessity, invented the first version of personal protection equipment for health care providers during the Spanish flue pandemic.

    At 75, I share the same age group as you as some of the same thoughts. I wish I had my sister’s existential posture with regards to this pandemic: carry on with living and contributing from your calling until it is time to let go.

  2. At 65 and healthy and now working remotely after traveling between New York and home at the beach, I was worried. I stopped worrying –this cannot be worse than 2 dances with breast cancer.

    I hold on to what is important–my family, friends, meditation, art, horseback riding. I have also revisited a book from by teen age years. The Decameron

    The story takes place in Florence, during the terrible Black Plague. Historians generally agree was written between 1349 and 1351. A desire to escape the horrors of the city prompts a group of ten young people (seven women and three men) to retreat to a country villa. There, they amuse themselves by telling each other stories. The stories are raucous, bawdy, and some downright pornographic. Hey it worked during the Black Plague.

    Stay content, stay busy, create. live your life.

    I predict there is going to be a hell of a baby boom in December and January.

  3. Allon, Good to hear from you, as always. You paint a scary picture, and it is one that could materialize here in the U.S. as well. I read today that a prominent health official said ““It seems to me the economy’s basically dying anyway. I think it’s a pill that has to be swallowed.”” He was referring to extreme measures that he is advocating. Scary stuff indeed.

  4. You nailed it- and managed to be humorous at the same time. Conditions for the poor world wide will certainly deteriorate as Capitalism has succeeded to create bigger gaps between the rich and the poor. Sad to hear the hard working people of Israel will be in even more dire conditions. Hoping Israel does indeed come out with a vaccine and make some money. Will they share it with the people? What do you think?

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