Israel is a relatively small country with just 9.2 million people. Yesterday, though-- like many days-- it had among the biggest daily new COVID-19 cases anywhere in the world. Yesterday Israel was the 13th worst-- 4,395 cases, right between Poland (population 37.8 million) with 4,604 new cases and Germany (population 83.9 million) with 3,938 new cases. 610,760 Israelis have been infected with COVID, 66,404 cases per million residents. In way of comparison:
USA- 77,911 cases per million residents
Israel- 66,404 cases per million residents
Sweden- 54,887 cases per million residents
U.K.- 54,190 cases per million residents
France- 46,788 cases per million residents
Lebanon- 41,459 cases per million residents
Italy- 40,976 cases per million residents
Ireland- 38,019 cases per million residents
Jordan- 31,405 cases per million residents
Turkey- 28,783 cases per million residents
Russia- 25,738 cases per million residents
Canada- 19,929 cases per million residents
Japan- 2,916 cases per million residents
New York started out badly in the pandemic and then got things under control while the rest of the U.S. spiked out of control. New York is back again as one of the worst COVID-hot spots. Yesterday there were 13,013 new cases (third worst after California and Texas, bringing the state total to 1,383,162, forth worst results other than California, Texas and Florida. In terms of cases per million residents, New York is at a ghastly 71,101. That may be bad compared to the rest of the world, but middle of the pack among states, where half a dozen-- North Dakota, South Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Tennessee and Arizona-- all with over 100,000 cases per million and Iowa sure to join them this week and Nebraska next week.Oklahoma and Arkansas are close behind. All those states have something in common-- really terrible governors, one hideous neoliberal Democrat (Rhode Island) and 9 right-wing Republicans.
New York and Israel have something else in common-- huge Haredi populations which are the locus of infection in both places. In fact, yesterday, Brooklyn had 1,598 new cases, the most of any New York County, bringing the county total to 163,675, third worst in the state. There are several Haredi neighborhoods (self-constructed ghettos) in Brooklyn and these are the communities that were:
a- voting as much as 80% Trump
b- spreading COVID-19 throughout the city
Last October Haredi in Brooklyn were already burning masks, conducting super-spreader events and daring anyone to stop them and threatening de Blasio and Cuomo politically. In Israel, the Haredis threatened to bring down the government for even trying to identify the problem, let alone treat it.
Haaretz reported this morning that the most recent wave of the coronavirus is the worst yet. "[T]his wave of the virus is more aggressive than its predecessors. More patients are seriously ill, their symptoms are worse, and their condition deteriorates to the point of needing ventilators more quickly. Moreover, many are in their forties, fifties and sixties, and not all of them have underlying health conditions. Hospitals also say that many patients now require mechanical breathing assistance in ICU units for weeks after testing negative for the virus, due to lingering damage to the lungs." The response from the Haredi community has been... rioting against public health measures. Right from the very start of the pandemic, around half of those hospitalized with COVID across Israel were from the primitive Ultra-Orthodox communities.
This morning a Jewish member of Congress sent me this new Times of Israel story-- Haredi passengers said to refuse to wear masks on flight from New York to Israel with the comment "Oy Vey." It made me wonder how a modern, interconnected society can deal with a tribal medieval society in its midst, in this case one spreading a dead plague. "Dozens of ultra-Orthodox passengers refused to wear face masks throughout a United Airlines flight from New York to Israel that landed last week," reads the Times of Israel staff report, "ignoring repeated requests by fellow passengers and staff, Hebrew-language media reported Sunday." Many people are wondering why United Airlines has ignored the incident and how the U.S. government with deal with them. Will passengers who contract COVID sue them?
Traveler Tali Tenenbaum described the flight that landed on Friday as traumatic, saying passengers tried to stay away from the “coronavirus breeding ground” by going to the bathroom to drink, and couldn’t eat or sleep.
In an interview with Radio 103FM, Tenenbaum said that she started to become concerned when she boarded the plane and noticed a large number of ultra-Orthodox passengers were not wearing masks, adding that the majority of the travelers on the flight were Haredi.
“The flight was three-quarters full, there were empty seats,” Tenenbaum said in the interview cited by Maariv. “In all honesty, in my whole life I have never seen such behavior, such contempt… We sat for the whole flight in the coronavirus breeding ground because one does not know if they were tested [for the virus].”
Tenenbaum said that all passengers had filled out health declarations but there was no real enforcement.
“People sat without masks for the whole flight, for almost 10 hours,” Tenenbaum said. “We did not eat, did not sleep. We went into the bathroom to drink because we were afraid to remove our masks.”
Tenebaum said that passengers and flight crew asked the passengers without masks to put face coverings on, but they were ignored. Additionally, they requested that the maskless travelers not gather to pray, but were ignored again.
United Airlines declined to respond to the report.
“When we arrived in the country, everyone went straight to do a coronavirus test. But I have to ask myself whether someone who doesn’t wear a mask will actually quarantine,” Tenenbaum said.
The flight landed last Friday, when travelers were not obligated to be tested when flying in, though they were required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
As of Sunday, arrivals from abroad without a negative COVID-19 test carried out within 72 hours prior to their flight were subject to a stiff fine, and from 12:01 a.m. Tuesday Ben Gurion Airport will be nearly completely shut amid fears over fast-spreading or vaccine-resistant coronavirus variants entering the country.
There have been multiple instances of violations of coronavirus regulations among some sectors of the ultra-Orthodox community, in both Israel and the United States. Sunday saw fierce clashes in Israel between police and ultra-Orthodox rioters in a number of cities as cops attempted to enforce health rules.
This video was pre-COVID, three years ago:
Emboldened by a colossal sense of entitlement, primitive right-wing Haredi mobs are rioting in Israel. If they were Palestinians a few might be in jail but most would be in morgues or hospitals. Anyone who criticizes the Ultra-Orthodox is immediately labelled a Nazi. This morning, reporting for the Jerusalem Post, Tobias Siegal wrote that Haredis have continued attacking the police all over the country over COVID shutdowns with relative alacrity. "Ultra-Orthodox groups clashing with police has become a frequent phenomenon in the past few weeks, with violent incidents and attempts to disrupt police in their efforts to enforce lockdown regulations being reported on a near daily basis in Bnei Brak, Ashod, Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh." Anshel Pfeffer noted for Haaretz that "the shocked headlines and response from politicians to the scenes of lawlessness ignore the fact that there’s nothing new about this sort of violence. In fact, it was an integral part of the tempestuous relationship between the Haredi autonomy and the Israeli state from its earliest days." The Greeks had a word for people like this extremist Haredis: idiots.