Lifegate in Octo­ber 2020

10. November 2020

The Jewish holi­days in Isra­el (New Year’s Day, Yom Kippur and Feast of Taber­na­cles) and the asso­cia­ted coro­na conta­gi­on led to the second „lock­down” in the coun­try. The number of peop­le infec­ted had alrea­dy incre­a­sed drama­ti­cal­ly befo­re Octo­ber. Until 18 Octo­ber, the popu­la­ti­on was only allo­wed to move 1,000 metres away from their homes, go shop­ping and do sports. In excep­tio­nal cases, peop­le could go to work. Any conta­ct with more than one person was prohi­bi­ted, kinder­gar­tens and schools remai­ned closed, as did the popu­lar shop­ping centres. Restau­rants and cafés were only allo­wed to offer „take away” food. The secu­lar popu­la­ti­on of Isra­el rants becau­se most of the infec­ted peop­le belong to the reli­gious, ortho­dox popu­la­ti­on group, who do not follow the governmen­t’s guide­li­nes, but are not prose­cu­t­ed by the autho­ri­ties either. For examp­le, schools in the Ortho­dox quar­ters opened against the inst­ruc­tions of the Minis­try of Health, and the schools of the large­ly secu­lar popu­la­ti­on of Isra­el are still closed. Large parts of the Israe­li retail trade are now groa­ning under immense finan­cial losses.


Accord­ing to offi­cial figu­res, the number of peop­le suffe­ring from coro­na has decli­ned consi­der­ab­ly and this „lock­down” is consi­de­red a success. The demons­tra­ti­ons of dissa­tis­fied peop­le in Isra­el conti­nue unch­an­ged and a split in socie­ty and the asso­cia­ted incre­a­sing readi­ness to use violence (unfor­tu­n­a­te­ly some­ti­mes by the secu­ri­ty forces) is beco­m­ing more and more visi­ble. The call for new elec­tions is beco­m­ing incre­a­singly audi­ble in a divi­ded Israe­li coali­ti­on. The peop­le of the coun­try are disap­poin­ted, clueless and outra­ged by the beha­viour of poli­ti­ci­ans in this coro­na crisis, who are main­ly preoc­cu­p­ied with them­sel­ves. A peace trea­ty between Isra­el and the Arab Emira­tes and Sudan, suppor­ted by the USA with weapons and money, is a foreign poli­cy success that should contri­bu­te to stabi­li­ty in the Midd­le East. We hope that it will be a „human peace” based on encoun­ters, getting to know each other and ancho­red at the grass­roots level and not just on a peace paper between governments. The flight routes from Isra­el to the USA and to South Ameri­ca have alrea­dy beco­me much shor­ter, since EL AL is now allo­wed to fly over these countries.


The Pales­ti­ni­ans feel betray­ed by these Arab coun­tries and, as so often befo­re, have missed the boat. Maybe it will lead to more prag­ma­tic decisi­ons to find a peace­ful sett­le­ment of the coexis­tence with Isra­el, we are curious and wish all sides coura­ge­ous and construc­ti­ve steps.


In the Pales­ti­ni­an terri­to­ries there was no lock­down, the number of coro­na pati­ents was kept within limits (also becau­se less testing was done), there were not many serious­ly ill peop­le and we hear of no threa­tening over­crow­ding of hospi­tals. Pales­ti­ni­an workers were allo­wed to work in Isra­el despi­te the lock­down and cros­sed the border legal­ly every morning.


Lifegate conti­nued to opera­te normal­ly this month, too. Fami­ly members of our child­ren and teen­agers and also indi­vi­du­al employees in Lifegate tested posi­ti­ve for Coro­na, then we carri­ed out the measu­res prescri­bed by the health autho­ri­ties. (e.g. all direct conta­cts among employees and child­ren had to stay at home for up to 14 days and take the test). Since we all wear face masks in the house, keep a safe distance and constant­ly clean surfaces and door hand­les, we have not expe­ri­en­ced a wave of infec­tion in our faci­li­ty so far – it was always only indi­vi­du­al peop­le who brought the virus in from outside.


The number of our child­ren in the kinder­gar­ten and the special school is back to the level it was befo­re a small virus disrup­ted our whole lives and in the kinder­gar­ten we even opened a new class. Since May we lear­ned to deal with the Coro­na situa­ti­on and to focus our work on the protec­tion of child­ren and young people.