Israeli Sabras’ most annoying vice may also be their nation’s saving grace
Israel’s “coronavirus cabinet” recently voted to order hospitals here to prepare to serve 2,000 additional coronavirus patients who may soon need ventilators. The ministers also increased from 200 to 500 shekels, about $145, the fine for failing to wear protective face-masks in public.
But while on a walk two days after these measures were passed, I observed that easily half the Israelis in my neighborhood remained barefaced. My guess is, since we were outdoors in bright sun with a stiff breeze blowing, we were not “in public” at all, you see? And, therefore, exempt from the rule. But the next day in a crowded Jerusalem mall, a good third of the Israelis there were still not wearing masks.
Many Israeli Sabras have rightfully been accused of possessing an almost mystical air of independence, a trait that most often works against them, but before we judge these stubborn non-conformists too harshly, it’s good to remember that their fiercely independent, sometimes innovative, sometimes just odd behavior has served them quite well on occasion, not only in science, medicine and commerce, but also when at war.[Read more…]