Israel's COVID-19 response has parallels to the Gulf War - opinion by RUTHIE BLUM and Tesla Comes to Israel: Electric Cars To Zoom (Quietly) Around Holy Land and the origin of OK (OKAY) AND Mind-blowing facts about Albert Einstein
Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement.
Israel's COVID-19 response has parallels to the Gulf War - opinion by RUTHIE BLUM-and praise to those that help solve the crisis by taking the shot
When Israelis acclimatize to danger, we tend to grow complacent, or at least inured.
It remains to be seen whether Israel's new "tightened" lockdown will accomplish the goal of halting the spike in COVID-19 morbidity and mortality rates. As was the case during previous nationwide closures, the degree of adherence to and enforcement of government directives will determine the outcome.
One thing is certain, however. When Israelis acclimatize to danger, we tend to grow complacent, or at least inured. Such an attitude is compounded by the happy fact that more than 1.5 million citizens have already received the first injection of the Pfizer vaccine, and a shipment of Moderna doses landed at Ben-Gurion Airport on Thursday night.
Ironically, Israelis have been pushing, shoving, and using "protektzia" to get inoculated as fervently as they nonchalantly cram into any space available. Such behavioral norms are so ingrained that no Health Ministry warnings can curb them.
As annoying as this may seem, it is actually one of the many paradoxes that make Israeli society so miraculous.
Nor is it the least bit new. The coronavirus crisis is simply the latest – and longest-lasting – example. As we approach the 30th anniversary of the First Gulf War, it is worth reviewing how average Israelis operated during the nearly six-week period when the late Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's Scud missiles were raining down regularly on the country.
At 2 a.m. on January 17, 1991, the air raid sirens that Israelis had been anticipating for a few weeks – while heading to Home Front Command stations to pick up and learn how to don our gas masks and use other items in our anti-chemical-weapons kit – finally arrived.
As everyone had been instructed ahead of that terrifying night, we all had designated a room in our homes to seal off with plastic sheets and duct tape. For the first time ever, we were told not to enter bomb shelters in the event of an attack, because "gas sinks."
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The initial fear in the air was palpable, even among IDF veterans. As well-versed as they were in conventional warfare – and as accustomed as all Israelis have been since the establishment of the state to the perils of bombs and other means of mass murder – this was a very different scenario.
Furthermore, the very idea of Jews being gassed to death was reminiscent of the Holocaust. The survivors in Israel were thus even more traumatized than anybody else by the thought that Saddam might make good on the threat he made in April 1990 to wipe out half of the Jewish state with chemical weapons if they were to hit any target in Iraq.
A few months later, on August 2, Iraq invaded Kuwait. In response, then-US president George H.W. Bush organized an international coalition against the move. On November 29, the UN Security Council authorized the use of "all means necessary" to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait, and issued an ultimatum to Saddam: Withdraw your troops by midnight on January 16 or suffer the consequences.
The rest, as we say, is history. Saddam didn't budge and the US-led coalition launched Operation Desert Storm with a massive airstrike on his forces in Iraq and Kuwait.
Baghdad retaliated by promptly bombarding Israel (and Saudi Arabia) with Scuds. Contrary to the Iraqi president's previous boasting, these missiles were not equipped with chemical warheads.
After the first two or three attacks – which sent us into our sealed rooms, fumbling with the straps of our gas masks and shoving our babies into plastic tents – it became pretty clear that we were experiencing a low-scale war of attrition. Nevertheless, the government and Home Front Command refused to change the sealed-room directive.
They also didn't exempt us from the order never to leave home without our gas masks in tow. Not that we had anywhere to go, really. Schools were closed, as were most offices. The state was under a self-imposed lockdown – one that was a lot more stringent and eerie than the ones to which we have been subjected, on and off, since March.
Within a week of the war, which Israel didn't enter, many Israelis simply ignored the sirens, not bothering to go through the pointless drill of entering sealed rooms, and often snorting at the suggestion of schlepping masks to and fro.
ONE INCIDENT that comes to mind from those days – which I spent endlessly entertaining bored kids, with no smartphones or Netflix to help while away the hours – is illustrative. Just as a siren went off and I was getting the children in gear, my husband arrived home and headed straight into the sealed room with a stranger he had encountered on the street.
When the man entered, I asked him if wasn't afraid to be out and about without a mask. "Nah," he replied dismissively, with a winning grin. "I served in the air force."
This statement might have sounded like a non sequitur to someone unfamiliar with the cocky charm so characteristic of Israelis in general and those of the male persuasion in particular. But it was actually shorthand for the expression of a lack of anxiety about being gassed.
In retrospect, he and others with a similar sense of security were right, particularly those in Jerusalem, which – unlike Tel Aviv – suffered no hits. And the Home Front Command was wrong to continue to insist that the public steer clear of bomb shelters. It was thus lucky for us that Saddam's Scuds were so primitive and inaccurate.
Still, living in that kind of limbo from January 17 to February 25 felt like an eternity. It was therefore inevitable for national worry to be replaced by weariness. So much so that my friends and I began to quip that if we had to build one more Lego castle or sing "The Wheels on the Bus" yet again, we'd beg Saddam to put us out of our misery.
If being cooped up for 39 days due to an enemy like Saddam had such an effect on Israelis, how could living with coronavirus-spurred closures for going on a year not cause a comparable reaction?
While it may not be fair to minimize the pandemic – or accept former Health Ministry director-general Yoram Lass's definition of COVID-19 as a "flu with public relations" – it is definitely unwise for the powers-that-be not to take the Israeli psyche into account when imposing restrictions. Though the common assumption is that if the public would only adhere to the rules, we wouldn't need to be locked down, the opposite is no less true.
Indeed, the more draconian the measures, the greater the chance that people will search for and find loopholes – or simply shrug at the prospect of fines and openly violate the rules.
It's hard to blame those who witness the farce of the coronavirus committee meetings and decide to use their own judgment about how to conduct themselves. It's not the least bit difficult, however, to heap praise on the millions of Israelis of all ages who are scrambling to solve the crisis through a shot in the arm.
Tesla Comes to Israel: Electric Cars To Zoom (Quietly) Around Holy Land
Electric cars produced by entrepreneur Elon Musk's company to go on sale with prices expected to start at 250,000 shekels ($78,000).
By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel
The California-based Tesla electric car company founded by flamboyant entrepreneur Elon Musk has obtained approval from Israel's Ministry of Transport to begin importing and selling its cars, Globes reported Monday.
Tesla will be allowed to sell without restriction and online sales are expected to start in the near future, having been previously restricted to import of up to twenty vehicles, mostly for testing purposes.
It marks the first time that a vehicle manufacturer has been allowed to directly import and sell their cars instead of having to use a local company to partner with, the report said.
Tesla will start accepting online orders from Israeli customers this
week and the first Tesla electric cars are expected to be driving on
Israel's roads in the coming months.The company is looking for sites to install its special charging
stations, which are needed to charge the cars, as well as trying to
speed up the process of getting permits to set up charging points in
public locations and large apartment buildings.oad services for the Tesla cars will be provided by the Israeli
company Shagrir, an established towing and roadside service company.The first Tesla models to hit the roads in Israel are expected to be
the Model 3, which will be offered in several versions and driving
ranges. Although prices have not yet been announced, initial sales will
probably be of the basic Tesla Model 3 SR+, which has a range of about
440 kilometers between charges.According to Globes, the price tag for the Tesla Model 3
cars is expected to ranged from 250,000-350,000 shekels
($78,000-109,000) depending on the version.Car and Driver Magazine lists the base price in America for
the Model 3 at $39,000 and the huge price increase in Israel is due
mainly to the high import taxes on all automobiles. The price increase
coupled with high taxes on gasoline has helped fund a massive
infrastructure overhaul in Israel that has seen the government invest
tens of billions of shekels over the past three decades to modernize
Israel's road transport system.Earlier this year, Tesla announced it was also setting up an R&D
office in Israel with an eye to partner with some of the Israeli
startups involved in the development of autonomous (self-driving) car
Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto.
Why we say "OK"
How a cheesy joke from the 1830s became the most widely spoken word in the world.
OK is thought to be the most widely recognized word on the planet. We use it to communicate with each other, as well as our technology. But it actually started out as a language fad in the 1830's of abbreviating words incorrectly.
Young intellectuals in Boston came up with several of these abbreviations, including "KC" for "knuff ced," "OW" for "oll wright," and KY for "know yuse." But thanks to its appearance in Martin Van Buren's 1840 presidential re-election campaign as the incumbents new nickname, Old Kinderhook, OK outlived its abbreviated comrades.
Later, widespread use by early telegraph operators caused OK to go mainstream, and its original purpose as a neutral affirmative is still how we use it today.
(1) Albert Einstein's wife often suggested that he dress more professionally when he headed off to work. "Why should I?" he would invariably argue. "Everyone knows me there."
(2) When the time came for Einstein to attend his first major conference, she begged him to dress up a bit. "Why should I?" said Einstein. "No one knows me there!"
(3) Albert Einstein was often asked to explain the general theory of relativity. "Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour," he once declared. "Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That's relativity!"
(4) When Albert Einstein was working at Princeton university, one day he was going back home he forgot his home address. The driver of the cab did not recognize him. Einstein asked the driver if he knows Einstein's home. The driver said "Who does not know Einstein's address? Everyone in Princeton knows. Do you want to meet him?. Einstein replied "I am Einstein. I forgot my home address, can you take me there? "The driver dropped him to his home and did not even collect his fare from him.
(5) Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn't find his ticket, so he reached in his trouser pockets. It wasn't there, so he looked in his briefcase, but he couldn't find it. Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn't find it.
The conductor said, 'Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I'm sure you bought a ticket. Don't worry about it.' Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket.
The conductor rushed back and said, 'Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don't worry, I know who you are. No problem. You don't need a ticket. I'm sure you bought one.' Einstein looked at him and said, 'Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don't know is where I'm going.'
6) When Einstein met Charlie Chaplin:
*"What I admire most about your art, is its universality. You do not say a word, and yet ... the world understands you."*
"It's true," replied Charlie Chaplin,
*"But your fame is even greater: The world admires you, when nobody understands you.".*
In ,1931 Charlie Chaplin invited Albert Einstein, who was visiting Hollywood, to a private screening of his new film, ''City lights''. As the two men drove into town together, passerbys waved and cheered. Chaplin turned to his guest and explained: ''The people are applauding you because none of them understands you and applauding me because everybody understands me''.
7) One of Einstein's colleagues asked him for his telephone number one day. Einstein reached for a telephone directory and looked it up. '' You don't remember your own number? '' the man asked, startled.
''No, '' Einstein answered. '' Why should I memorize something I can so easily get from a book? '' (In fact, Einstein claimed never to memorize anything which could be looked up in less than two minutes.)