Israeli Pandemic Fatigue

Israeli Pandemic Fatigue, by Talia Goldberg, Community Shlicha

My recent trip back to Israel has left me very confused. When I arrived in Israel the accuracy of life there, not watching it all from far away and reading the news, hit me like a large wave of reality washing over me.

Reading the Israeli news is exhausting for me. It feels like there is breaking news every minute. And most of the news is bad. It makes me truly wonder how much bad news people can listen to and still go about their day.

The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) has recently created a web page to help governments manage the pandemic in a better way so their citizens do not suffer from pandemic fatigue. The web page points out that many citizens are growing weary of staying at home in lockdown and constantly wearing masks. The toll of not seeing family and friends is growing each day. The web page warns governments that citizens may stop caring about the precautions.

The W.H.O. recommends that governments should be open and honest with its citizens about their plans, they should set an example, and should be predictable and consistent. The W.H.O. advises governments through this web page to plan in advance for big events like holidays so that people don’t go back to their old habits and ignore pandemic precautions.

The feeling I saw in Israelis was a feeling of frustration and being fed up. The people and businesses around me couldn’t make plans in advance. I had a hard time budgeting correctly for time or money. The restaurants weren’t sure if they should open or not. Between praying on the high holidays, going to riots and asking for change, there were more and more people are out in the streets.

It felt like most of the people I saw have stopped caring, and the few that still said they cared were finding fewer and fewer places to be safe. Facebook, in Israel, started a movement where many added on the word “go” (Hebrew: lech לך ) on their profile pages. This “go” is directed at Benjamin Netanyahu and it is promoting the notion that he should step down and let someone else lead during in these difficult times.

There was another large movement that I also witnessed. Now is the time to spread love and give the people a chance. I’m asking everyone to hold themselves together and stay strong. Don’t let yourself get pandemic fatigue! Let’s try to spread love and good feelings around. It is usual for Israelis to stick together when times get tough and become more caring and loving towards others. I think this is the time Israelis should show the world how to survive in tough times and model the right behavior.