Opinion: The coronavirus crisis has shone a light on multiple issues that have festered under the surface for decades, and the pandemic has given us the opportunity to look these issues right in the face and finally take steps to resolve them

This COVID-blighted year has brought to the surface decades of repressed failures and Injustices that are now threatening to swallow Israel and its people whole.

We have to open our eyes and correct these numerous failings before it’s too late.

מחלקת קורונה בבית חולים בצפת
The coronavirus ward at Ziv Medical Center in Safed (Photo: EPA)


We must heal our ailing health system. Because while the country’s coronavirus vaccination drive was a tremendous success, it doesn’t change the fact that Israel has had more than 6,000 coronavirus-related fatalities.

We must address the unfair financial reality in Israel, where the poverty rate is the highest among OECD countries. Because it does not make sense that the top 20% pay 90% of the country’s income tax and 50% of the population does not make enough to pay any at all. Or that the country’s workforce, many of whom are struggling to make ends meet each month, are forced to financially support an entire sector whose sole concern is studying the Torah and nothing else. This arrangement has to end.

אנשים מחפשים אוכל בפחים בצל משבר הקורונה
A woman searches for food among the garbage at a market in Tel Aviv (Photo: Nadav Abas)


We must also change the status of Israel’s Arab population, who have been gravely neglected for decades. Because we cannot be considered a modern country when an entire minority population are treated as nothing more than second class citizens with no real rights, prospects, representation or future.

There is no doubt that at least some of the billion of shekels earmarked for the ultra-Orthodox must be rediverted to the Arab community, to help its members finally become an integral party of this country.

Because in a few decades, who will be able to support themselves as well as two indigent sectors? Surely not the young people who were forced to take unpaid leave and now refuse to go back to work as they are accustomed to live on unemployment checks handed out by the state.

And of course, we have to address the education system, whose leaders have been running around like headless chickens for the past year. We are moving further away from the academic standards of the developed world and the troublesome remote learning has only highlighted the fact that there is no future for this country without a proper education system.

בית ספר בירושלים
Students going back to school in Jerusalem (Photo: EPA)


The pandemic has also left us with no choice but to open the Pandora’s Box that is gender discrimination. Because during the pandemic, women’s rights regressed by decades, incidents of violence against women multiplied considerably and women comprised 70% of those laid off due to closures.

And so although the past year has brought all the country’s problems to the surface, it also presents us with an opportunity. We can clearly see the foulness that has defiled Israeli society for decades, and we can finally clean it up.

As reported by Ynetnews