“A light unto the nations” is a phrase that originated from the Prophet Isaiah, which describes the universal destiny of the people of Israel as the spiritual and moral trailblazers for the entire world. It seems that nowadays actually gentiles might constitute light unto Jews.
Dr. Ugur Sahin and Dr. Ozlem Tureci invented the Corona vaccine that constitutes the light not just for Israel but for the entire world. And as much as it might sound strange to you in this time of pandemic, through the vaccine we can understand that we are living in an excellent time: plagues that occurred in the past used to eradicate entire populations and left deep scars. Nowadays, we can see how much medicine has advanced, which includes rapidly inventing vaccines and preventing the deaths of millions.
Israel was not the first county to vaccinate its citizens for Covid. Britain preceded her. But Israel was the first to get vaccines in large amounts and start proper mass distribution: in the first week, 1,300,000 people were vaccinated. Now 25 per cent of the entire population has been vaccinated. The world is looking at the only democracy in the Middle East in wonder. Many people are asking themselves “How have the Israelis, once again, set the example?
Even before I explain this unique phenomenon It is important to start with who created it: he is called Benjamin Netanyahu and he is the Prime Minister of Israel. Netanyahu offered Pfizer, Moderna, and to other companies producing the vaccine substantially higher prices than other countries. His understanding was that continuing with the status quo, with lockdowns, restrictions, the economy would shut down and healthcare needs requiring immense spending would cost more than any short-term vaccine cost. Substantially more. The fact that the Left in Israel accused Netanyahu of spending excessively on the vaccine shows just how much the socialists do not understand economics and long-term planning. That “high” price is very cheap in comparison to the economic damage Israel would be face if the coronavirus continued to affect us.
Netanyahu urged the Israeli Ministry of Health to use all options, to do any possible research, and reach out to any serious company working towards a vaccine. It is important to note: while he was negotiating with these companies the Left and the media blamed him for people dying. When Netanyahu said that millions of vaccines would shortly arrive in Israel, opposition politicians mocked him, and yet now that Israel has started a mass vaccination campaign those same people say it has no connection to him.
In parallel, when the vaccines arrived the Ministry of Health organised vaccination as effectively as possible. For many years the Left and media commentators have tried to push an image that the health care system here is terrible. The fact that it is in the top ten in the world in countless international studies does not bother them or affect them spreading this lie. Our quick organisation proved again that passing Chaim Ramon’s national health insurance law in 1994 was excellent. The critics will continue to criticise but the system continues to work efficiently.
Another important factor is our voluntary spirit and the will of ordinary Israelis. A small but not insignificant number of Israelis believe that corona is nothing but an invention or a manipulation. Others were against the vaccines and tried to use every opportunity to convince other Israelis not to get vaccinated. But from the moment Netanyahu brought the vaccines everyone has gone to get vaccinated. They met at the vaccine stations health care workers alongside volunteers, who made the whole process that much more efficient. The sound of those protesting vanished as if it never existed. In Israel, there is a saying: “two Jews, three synagogues” which shows that Jews like to express their opinions and debate. This expresses Israeli society also nowadays.
It is important to realise that Israelis are accustomed to emergency situations: over the past 80 years the country has been attacked several times by its neighbours; it has had to cope with more terrorist activity than any other country in the world.
In 1991 the Iraqis fired Scud missiles at Israel and ever since 2001 Hamas has routinely fired rockets at us. In all those challenging times Israeli society united. Similarly, in the fight against corona most of our society, or at the very least an overwhelming majority, conducted and united like we when are at war. Like we celebrated when we won the wars, I hope to soon see victory parties in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, but this will only be done once it is certain that the vaccines are effective. Afterwards, we will be happy to go and celebrate with our friends from all over the world, with the hope that they too will beat corona and go back to normal.