Fifth Letter from Tel Aviv

With some of the corona-related  bans having been lifted, I am out and about again. To be honest, even during the lock-down, I did my daily nine kilometer walk wearing one mask or another, all of them suffocating in the summer heat.

I have also started to work again, my clients apparently not haven given up on me despite Israeli media’s constantly harping on the over 65 crowd’s upcoming extinction. To be a journalist in Israel during corona, you need to be under 25,  have a microphone, and suffer from a panic disorder.

Many stores near my home have folded. Those which have not folded are empty, or lines form outside so that only a number of clients can enter. Shopping is a nightmare ; the mood in public spaces is grim.

The dysfunction of our government is transparent-contradicting directions, finger pointing to shift blame, and a gross lack of personal example in leadership. The political crust of our society is pure scum, the bottle of the barrel. It is shocking, but not surprising; this is certainly not limited to Israel.

All adult education takes place on  line and as an adult-education junkie, I can bear about two hours of online learning a day, and that’s it. The best lectures I have heard over the last few weeks are “Stalin’s use of religious symbolism in Soviet propaganda”, and “Jews and Arabs in the Palestinian Police in the 1930’s”. Yes, esoteric. I know. And I have also started reading a lot about the pied noir of Algeria and Harry’s Truman’s presidency.

I have met with family and friends at restaurants, eating outside. Menus are digital; staff is semi compliant with regulations; and fear is looming  in the air.

We are presently experiencing the second wave of corona, with about 200 cases a day in a country with 9 million people. But there will be no more curfew, because the economy cannot take another blow. In many ways, the economy is out on its feet yet stumbling along.

However, it is infinitely better than it was during the shut down and “זה מה שיש”-that’s what there is.

And as Tuvya said, “and if our good fortune never comes, here’s  to whatever comes, drink l’chaim, to life”.





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8 thoughts on “Fifth Letter from Tel Aviv

  1. Similar patterns here in the U.S., Allon. The lockdown is being lifted, but over twenty states are seeing spikes in corona virus cases! Where I am in the greater NYC area, we were the epicenter but now life is returning to “normal”-ish. But many are fearful of a second wave if we relax our preventive practices like social distancing, washing our hands, and wearing masks. Stay well.

  2. You captured the essence as well in Toronto. The difference is here you order “tapuz eshkoliott” they will hand you a mask where there you will get real grapefruit juice. And only surprise is Israel can with one airport really shut its borders much like New Zealand which is an island and you still spike. We just can’t seem to know. World not ready to cope with second go round. Depressing can’t visit American grandchildren. So back to my grapefruit juice because I think it kills germs.

  3. Yes, same in Pennsylvania but where I am is an epicenter. I am so restless to be out – this weekend they are allowing outdoor dining (thank heavens it is summer) and I am eager to just go sit somewhere.
    I ‘run’ for 1 hour to 2 hours daily in the woods. I have inhaled enough nats to start a nat planet.
    I hate shopping – wait outside, wear masks and shit if you forget something because its such a hassle to go back.
    But I don’t want to get sick either so I do the right thing.

  4. Loved your description of a journalist in Israel. We probably have more than a few that fit the description.

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