Opinion: The heavy toll Israel had to pay due to Omicron is an outgrowth of Bennett and his government’s blunders, and now as he aims to scrap all remaining COVID curbs, his victory laps are completely uncalled for

The Spin Championship, or in its full name “The Describe Reality Most Unreliably to Score Political Brownie Points Competition”, has been won this week by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, hands down.

He — pardon me, I mean a “senior government source” that is definitely not him has called the government’s policies during the fifth wave of the coronavirus pandemic a roaring success. This statement is already a top contender for “Lie of the Year”, even though we’re only at the beginning of 2022.

נפתלי בנט
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (Photo: Noam Revkin-Fenton)


It’s not for nothing has he chosen to remain anonymous. Even he knows that’s a bunch of malarkey.

The anonymous source did not even bother to wait until the storm subsides and the national short-term memory kicks in.

And the fact that this unfortunate statement was made just days away from the peak of the wave, as dozens of Israeli families are still saying goodbye to loved ones every day, is rude and disrespectful.

The not-so-anonymous-source’s assertion that most of the pandemic’s victims die “with COVID” rather than “of COVID” — a claim that has been voiced dozens if not hundreds of times by pandemic deniers of all shades and hues — is simply mocking the intelligence of the public.

It is hard to believe that same source doesn’t know that doctors carefully examine each death before determining whether it was caused directly by the virus. If anything, the number of COVID deaths is underestimated in most cases, not overestimated. Data about the excess mortality that characterizes the fifth wave will be out eventually, and we will be examining it thoroughly.

חברה קדישא בחליפות מגן
Chevra Kadisha workers in hazmat suits prepare bodies of COVID-19 victims for burial (Photo: EPA)


This statement was deliberately shrouded by anonymity in order to obfuscate and downplay the heavy human toll Israel had to pay due to the rampaging pandemic, which is an outgrowth of the government’s countless blunders throughout the Omicron outbreak, and it is reminiscent of the worst bunkum and balderdash spewed by anti-vaxxers.

Such miserable claims, uttered by a head of state for the sake of cheap political PR, must be exposed for all to see.
In an age where fake news and propaganda lay the groundwork for a global conflict, the psychological warfare against public opinion is working overtime to whitewash the shame. One can rewrite the past, or the present in our case, for their own political gains and personal interests using sweet talk.

And so, scandals of unimaginable proportions suddenly become policy, abject incompetence becomes intention, and thousands of deaths become a success.

Our leaders haven’t just lost every ounce of shame during this pandemic, they have also forgotten what the sanctity of life means.

Had dozens of children died as a result of the Education Ministry’s mass infection policy, the ground would have been shaking.

צוות מחלקת הקורונה בית חולים הלל יפה
Health worker tends to COVID-19 patient at Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera (Photo: Hillel Yaffe Medical Center)


But the lives of the elderly, the chronically ill, the poor and the minorities, who have not been vaccinated because they have fallen prey to lies and incitement, are a marginal price that the state could easily afford to pay.

What does it matter if they passed away a year, two years, five years earlier because the government chose to abandon them? Their life expectancy was short anyway. Let them die.

Riding on the success story he tailored for himself and for us — with the generous help of some journalists who did not stop to think for one second whose interests exactly they were serving by echoing such lies to the public like a bunch of automatons — Bennett announced his intention to do away with all remaining coronavirus restrictions in the coming days.

It’s not like there’s much left to do away with. Most curbs were dumped and forgotten back when we were still seeing record numbers of cases and deaths. But the message rings clear: I came, I saw, I conquered, move on already.

Unfortunately, this message does not comport with a reality where tens of thousands of Israelis are still coming down with the virus daily, more than half of them are children who catch it in school as one might expect.

יפעת שאשא ביטון ניצן הורוביץ
Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch, Kobi Koanks)


The credit for the declining morbidity is not Bennett’s to brag about. And neither of his fellow Cabinet members Health Minister Nitzan “Everything’s Under Control” Horowitz, and Education Minister Yifat Shaha-Biton who did not miss a single chance to let Israeli children catch coronavirus as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The pandemic is receding simply because that is the natural course of a pandemic. And judging from the experience of the last two years, it’s probably not the last we hear from it.

This battle has already been lost. All the lives lost in this horrendous scandal are fait accompli, unfortunately.

Now begins the countdown until the start of the next wave.
The state must prepare for what’s to come: gird up hospitals, ensure as many young children as possible are vaccinated, draw up a comprehensive testing plan, purchase and distribute high-quality home test kits and PPE, and make the required adjustments in the education system to prevent infections in schools.

We know how to pull this off, we just need a government that can step up and do what’s right for us instead of duping us over and over and over.

As reported by Ynetnews