Beaking news: COVID-19: Quarantine for infected individuals shortened to five days and Obsessed with Israeli Settlements, US and Europe Blind to Palestinian Violence By Israel Kasnett and Much ado about Trees … and a Game of ChickenBy Sheri Oz and Poverty Jokes
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.
The quarantine for individuals infected with the coronavirus will be shortened from seven to five days, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz said Monday. In addition, a negative at-home antigen test will be sufficient to leave isolation instead of a doctor's note, which has been required so far, they said."The State of Israel is now facing the highest morbidity of the Omicron wave," Bennett said. "Therefore, we are seeing many verified cases and many people in quarantine, and this is placing heavy pressure on the economy."Top Articles By JPostRead More
"This decision will enable us to continue safeguarding public health on the one hand and to keep the economy going at this time on the other, even though it is difficult so that we can get through this wave safely," he said. The new rules come into effect Wednesday.
COVID-19 antigen self-test, Panbio (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)Under the new outline, individuals over 60 who are fully vaccinated or recovered will undergo a PCR test when they are exposed to a verified case or experience symptoms. If negative, they will be exempt from quarantine. If positive, they will need to enter quarantine for five days. If they do not have any symptoms, they will be able to leave quarantine after performing an at-home test on the fifth day, as long as the test comes out negative. A doctor's note will not be required to be released from isolation. The same rules apply for fully vaccinated or recovered Israelis under 60. The only difference is that instead of a PCR, they are required to undergo an antigen test at home or at a testing station.
Unvaccinated individuals over 60 who have symptoms or have been exposed to a verified case must first undergo a PCR and quarantine for five days, whether they are negative or positive. If they are found negative, they will need a second PCR after five days to be released from isolation. If the result shows they are infected, they can undergo an antigen test at home, as long as they do not have any symptoms. Those under 60 are released after five days with a negative antigen test at a testing station, provided they do not have any symptoms. Any person of any age who still tests positive after five days will need to repeat the test after seven days."We have decided to shorten the isolation from seven to five days because we found that the majority of infections from verified cases happen within five days," coronavirus commissioner Salman Zarka said in a press briefing. The move followed an in-depth study of data from Israel and abroad showing that most of the infections from a positive individual happen within the first three days and 85% within the first five, he said. The Health Ministry also was examining the possibility of allowing healthcare staff and other emergency personnel to continue working in certain conditions even when infected, Zarka said. The high number of medical staff in quarantine – more than 7,700, the Healthy Ministry reported Sunday night – has been creating severe problems in the hospital system, already strained by a growing number of hospitalized patients both due to COVID and the flu.
As of Sunday night, there were 446 patients in serious condition, 250 more than a week earlier.On Monday, due to technical problems, the Health Ministry did not release an update about pandemic trends. The ministry had looked into the question of how many patients in the health system were hospitalized and also have the virus, as opposed to how many are hospitalized because of the virus, Zarka said. It found that 78% of patients in serious or critical condition or were ventilated were there because of COVID-19.
The Three Musketeers at the Kotel
Obsessed with Israeli Settlements, US and Europe Blind to Palestinian Violence By Israel Kasnett
photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
The United States and some European nations continue to demonstrate an obsession with Israeli "settlements" and isolated incidents by small groups of radical right-wing Israelis, mostly wayward youths, while completely ignoring the much larger issue of Palestinian violence, incitement and terrorism.
This obsession was made even clearer during a routine meeting several weeks ago at Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs between diplomats and ambassadors from 16 European countries and Aliza Bin Noun, the director of the European Affairs Department.
According to a report on the Israeli Walla news site, the European representatives reportedly presented Bin Noun with a lengthy letter of protest over settler violence against Palestinians, settlement construction near Ma'ale Adumim and in eastern Jerusalem's Givat Hamatos neighborhood, and the general situation in "Area C" in Judea and Samaria, more commonly known as the West Bank.
Bin Noun, however, refused to passively accept what she deemed to be their misguided obsession with the wrong issues.
"You are pissing me off," she told them. "After everything the new Israeli government has been doing for the Palestinians, you come to complain?"
'Respond clearly, even if response is not pleasant to European ear'
According to Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Lior Hayat, "dialogue with the Europeans on a variety of issues on the agenda includes the promotion of cooperation on many and varied issues along with disagreements."
Hayat said that while Israel is seeing a warming in relations with European nations, at the same time, their positions and claims "are sometimes presented in ways that are not acceptable to us, and when that happens, it is correct to respond to them clearly and sharply even if our response is not pleasant to the European ear."
The European envoys' complaints become even more outrageous when considering a recent study commissioned by B'nai B'rith International that found that the European Union has not done enough to ensure that funding to the Palestinian Authority does not support incitement to violence and human-rights violations.
The British embassy in Israel declined to comment on the record for this article. It also declined to clarify whether the same envoys also raised the issues of Palestinian violence, incitement and terrorism.
Adding to the outrageousness of the American obsession with settlements, recent headlines include rumors that U.S. President Joe Biden is ignoring Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's request for a phone conversation because the president is allegedly upset over the settlement issue.
Danielle Pletka, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told JNS that she believes Biden's alleged refusal to answer Bennett's phone calls actually has "more to do with the difficulty of briefing Biden to stay on message than antipathy towards Israel."
Taking it further, Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, believes that "the obsession isn't with settlements; it's with Israel."
As Gold explained to JNS, the legal basis of European objections to settlement activity that appears in U.N. resolutions is the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, which forbids an occupying power from evicting the existing population or forcibly transferring its own population into the occupied territory.
Gold highlighted the international community's double standard with regard to the convention.
"The two dimensions of the convention do not apply to Israel," he said, "yet the international community misinterprets international law and accuses Israel of violating the convention" while ignoring actual violations in other countries.
'A glaring case of misapplying international law'
Gold noted as an example that when Turkey occupied northern Cyprus, there was a massive sale of properties there to Europeans who wanted a cheap vacation home. These cases came up in European courts, particularly in Britain, but the U.N. Human Rights Council ignored it.
The one case, he said, "that really boils my blood" is what has been going on in the last decade in Syria.
Pro-Iranian Shi'ite militias there have evicted thousands of Syrian Sunnis in order to change the demographic balance. There has also been an attempt to allow some of these families that have come from Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere to settle in the vacated homes.
In Israel's case, there has not been any forced eviction of Palestinians in Judea and Samaria. In the Syrian case, there have been forced evictions of Sunni citizens. And yet, the international community focuses on Israel and ignores Syria.
"That is what I would call international legal hypocrisy," said Gold. "This is a glaring case of misapplying international law. Consistency is not a part of international diplomacy."
Gold pointed to Khan al-Ahmar, a Bedouin outpost situated on the main highway connecting Jerusalem to the Jordan Valley, and recognized as illegal by Israel's Supreme Court as a potential security risk if more such outposts are established.
When he was director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Gold met with German officials over assistance to Palestinians in Judea and Samaria, and, according to his own words, "made a very strong point" that if Khal al-Ahmar is allowed to remain and other similar outposts are established, hundreds of Israeli families that travel on that road will be at risk.
Still, the Israeli government is not implementing the removal of Khan al-Ahmar, allegedly for fear of an international backlash.
Gold said he told the German ministry officials to recognize that if Israeli families are killed on this road after Germany insisted that Palestinian construction in "Area C" is legal, they share responsibility in what happens.
"They didn't brush it off," he said. "They very much internalized the message."
While they may agree on the point, the Germans and other Europeans, along with the Americans, still focus on Israel while ignoring real violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention elsewhere in the world.
'They cannot revise their basic assumptions'
Professor Eytan Gilboa, an expert on U.S.-Israel relations at Bar-Ilan University and a senior fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, told JNS that successive U.S. administrations have identified the settlement issue as the fundamental obstacle to peacemaking.
Former U.S. ambassadors to Israel like Martin Indyk and Daniel Kurtzer, among many other officials and diplomats who have made a career in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, "are prisoners of their own false conception and understanding of what are the main obstacles and how to overcome them," said Gilboa. "They cannot revise their basic beliefs and assumptions because this would require an admission of their own failures."
"Many in this administration still believe that the No. 1 obstacle is the settlements," he said. "Instead of focusing on all the obstacles and identifying the most important ones, they are singling out the settlement issue and defining it as the most critical one."
He also noted that because many Biden administration officials view Palestinian violence to be a result of Israeli settlements and the so-called Israeli occupation, "they seem to be tolerant of Palestinian violence, which is much more serious, and they are much more critical of settler violence."
But according to Gilboa, the issue of settlements has never been the main obstacle. Rather, he said, it's the Palestinian insistence on the so-called "Right of Return" that has been problematic to peace since this would mean the elimination of the Jewish state.
"American policymakers and mediators have ignored this, and they became obsessed with the settlement issue," he said. "This reached a climax in the last weeks of [former U.S. President Barack] Obama's presidency when he allowed the U.N. Security Council to pass a resolution defining settlements as illegal. Not only that, but Obama was behind the resolution."
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reversed this decision in 2019 when he said the United States "will no longer recognize Israeli settlements as per se inconsistent with international law."
Gilboa placed the issue in a historical context, noting that in 2009, P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas demanded that Israel recognize the two-state solution and freeze settlements—both of which former prime minister and current opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu did. And yet, Abbas still did not come to the table.
"This proves that settlements have never been the issue," said Gilboa.
He also lamented that Israeli policymakers "don't seem to make an issue of this in meetings," though Bin Noun may be the exception.
By allowing the Americans and Europeans to focus their obsession on settlements—and to ignore the real issue, such as Palestinian terrorism, incitement and the insistence on the "right of return"—Gilboa said Israel is "missing opportunities" to change the narrative.
Foreign obsession with Israel and the settlements is not going away, "but it is imperative that Israel get its truth out," said Gold. "The Fourth Geneva Convention does not apply. Israel is in the right here."
RABBI SCHWARTZ'S TERRIBLE POVERTY JOKES OF THE WEEK
When someone says "I got it"
In Baltimore it means Covid
In NY it means the vaccine
In Lakewood it means the stimulus check
And in Miami it means the restaurant dinner reservation.
A wealthy man threw a party in honor of his son's graduation from university. Yankel the local shnorrers happened to be in the vicinity, and joined the party. Amidst all the commotion he was let in and seated at the far end of the table.
"Son," the wealthy man said, "share with us some of the great knowledge that you have acquired in the university."
"Well," began the son, "Copernicus proved that the earth turns on its axis."
"That is false!" came the objection from the poor man at the other end of the table.
"How do you know? Prove it!" shouted the student.
"It is very simple," replied the beggar. "If the earth turned on its axis, then the food that was placed at the head of the table would have by now come to this side of the room."
A beggar told Rothschild that since the orchestra had been dismantled all he had was bad luck.
"What instrument did you play,"? Asks Rothschild.
"The bassoon," was the answer."
"Wow that's my favorite," declared Rothschild. "Here is my bassoon, play something for me."
"I told you all I have is bad luck," replies the poor man.
"What do you mean,"? Asks Rothschild.
"Well, from all the hundreds of instruments I had to pick the one you own."
President Biden was invited to visit a poor African country. A soccer match was arranged between two local teams in honour of Trump's visit. During the match, the Prime Minister of the country explained about the poverty his country was facing. Biden listened intently and said
"Mr PM, I've seen enough and I fully understand the extent of the poverty you are facing. You have my word that you will be getting help soon"
The next day the Prime Minister receives a huge container and a note which said 'From your friend Joe Biden'.
The Prime Minister was very happy and immediately opened the container. To his surprise, the container was full of soccer balls. He decided to give Biden a call.
" Mr Biden why did you send me all these balls? What does it mean? "
"I understood how poor you were when I firsthand witnessed 22 of your men fighting over a ball. Now everyone in your country can have one".
Igor a Russian government official and a Ahmed his Palestinian counterpart met each other at a conference. they soon became good friends and exchanged their business cards.
"If you ever come to Russia call me and we can hang out!" said Igor.
"Really? Cool! Same to you. If you ever come to Palestine call me and we can hang out!" says Ahmed
6 months later, Ahmed comes to Russia remembering about Igor and decides to call him.
"Hey, I'm in Russia, want to hang out today?" he asks.
"Sure! Just a question, where are you staying?" Igor asks.
"The Hilton." Ahmed replies.
"Pack your things and meet me at the front. You can live with me for your trip."
Igor pulls up to the hotel with a BMW, the latest model. Ahmed gets in and Igor takes him on the freeway to his condo. On the freeway, Ahmed admires the beautiful scenery. Once at the condominium, Ahmed is impressed at how big the condo is: 5 rooms, 3 bathrooms, and much more that he was baffled about.
Ahmed goes to the master bedroom and asks
"You are just a Russian official, how do you have enough?"
Igor tells him to come to the window and asks, "What do you see outside?"
"Houses, apartments, and people."
"You see that freeway? Yeah, I took 10% of the funds and pocketed it".
Fast forward 3 months when the Igor comes to visit the West Bank.
"Hey, I just got to Palestine, want to go grab food later?" he asks.
"Sure! Where are you staying?" the Ahmed asks.
"The Ramallah Hilton." Igor replies.
"Well, pack your things and meet me at the front because you are going to be living with me."
"Great, I'll get ready."
Ahmed pulls up to the hotel with a Lamborghini. Igor gets in and Ahmed takes him. Igor is really excited, wanting to see the beautiful place Ahmed lives. They drive and drive when suddenly the road turns into a muddy unpaved road, filled with mud. Broken shanties and children running around. Igor is shocked until they get to the Ahmed's place: a mansion. The mansion is gorgeous, 35 bedrooms, completed with a slide to the pool from the 2nd floor to the 1st.
Igor goes to the master bedroom and checks the toilet, in disbelief. The toilet seat is pure gold. He then asks,
"You are just a Palestinian official, how do you have enough?"
Ahmed tells him to come to the window and asks, "What do you see outside?"
"Huts, poverty, and barren wasteland."
"You see that dirt road? I took 100%."
Just because you were born in poverty, it doesn't mean that you'll be poor forever. I was born in a hospital, yet I'm not a doctor.
The Canadian government spends more time and money taking care of other countries than its own people in poverty. You may think I'm wrong but it's Trudeau
How do you solve world hunger and poverty simultaneously? By feeding the poor to the hungry.
The presidents of Serbia, Mexico and the United States were each granted the ability to ask God one question...
The Serbian president first went up to God , and asked, "Father, when will my country finally be rid of poverty and corruption?
God paused, and then answered, "In 300 years, my son."
The Serbian president began to weep, "I won't live to see that day!"
Next the Mexican president went up to God and asked, "Lord, when will *my* country finally be rid of poverty and corruption?"
God answered him, "In 500 years, my son."
The Mexican president sank to his knees and began to weep. "I won't live to see the day."
Finally, the US president swaggered up confidently to God and asked, "Hey, God, when will my country be rid of poverty and corruption?"
Then God began to weep. "I won't live to see the day."
A poor village family was visiting the big city for the very first time in their lives. The father and son walked into a tall building and stood in awe. The son pointed at two metal doors and asked his father what they were. The father had no idea. Suddenly the two doors slid open and a little old lady, leaning on her cane, walked slowly through the metal doors as they slid closed behind her. A few minutes passed. The light on the metal door rang and the door reopened. Out stepped a beautiful young woman, who briskly walked to the front door.
The father, hardly believing his eyes, whispered to his son, "Quickly, go get Mommy!"
A kind-hearted fellow was walking through Central Park in New York and was astonished to see an old man, fishing rod in hand, fishing over a beautiful bed of red roses.
"Tsk Tsk!" said the passer-by to himself. "What a sad sight. That poor old man is fishing over a bed of flowers. I'll see if I can help."
So the kind fellow walked up to the old man and asked, "What are you doing, my friend?"
"Fishin', eh. Well how would you like to come have a drink with me?"
The old man stood put his rod away and followed the kind stranger to the corner bar. He ordered a large glass of beer and a fine cigar. His host, the kind fellow, felt good about helping the old man, and he asked, "Tell me, old friend, how many did you catch today?"
The old fellow took a long drag on the cigar, blew a careful smoke ring and replied, "You are the sixth today, sir!"
Violence is raging in the Negev over the planting of trees. But it is not really about trees, and it is not only about the Negev.
In solidarity with the Negev Bedouin, students at Tel Aviv University held a demonstration on Thursday at the main campus entrance. They were waving PLO flags and calling out for intifada in support of the Bedouin protesting simultaneously in the Negev.
The violence in the Negev is over tree-planting. The Jewish National Fund, which has been planting trees around the country for more than 100 years, began reforesting an area claimed by the al-Atrash tribe.
According to Ynet news, more than 2000 people blocked the road near the entrance to Beersheva on Thursday, throwing rocks at cars and at the police. A journalist's car was set alight, and the railroad was blocked with rocks. Only the alertness of the train conductor prevented a serious accident.
The demonstrators at Tel Aviv University chanted (translated into Hebrew by Im Tirzu and into English by me):
"Negev, Negev, wake up, show your glory and leadership, be the sword and learn the lessons of the intifada. Listen, you rapist, listen! We are a people who will never give in, not to the tank and not to the bullet. We will never renounce the right of return. People, join us, the martyr sacrificed his blood. Light the world on fire."
In their statement, Matan Peleg, chairman of Im Tirzu, and Maor Tzemach, chairman of Lach Yerushalayim, declare that the demonstration at Tel Aviv University proves that the conflict over planting trees in the Negev is not an issue of private land but a national issue. By its lack of resolve, the State of Israel shows that violence makes the government fold. This does not concern only the Negev, they say, but all of Israel, and they warn that the next intifada is around the corner.
It is not surprising that trees comprise a central theme in the battle for the land. Residents of Avigayil, a community in the South Hebron Hills, planted olive trees around the perimeter of their settlement. They purposely planted the trees on state land, never claiming the land for themselves, but protecting it from being taken over by Arabs who are engaged in illegal construction and cultivation for the purpose of choking the Jewish settlements and establishing continuity of Arab outposts. All this is in accordance with the Fayyad Plan that has gone on steadily and quietly under the radar until recently.
The importance of trees has been highlighted by the Negev uprising, the uprooting of Avigayil's trees by Arabs from a nearby illegal outpost, and a new story in which Efrat residents "woke up to a new olive grove alongside their town."
If the past is any indication, the Israeli government will not do anything about these trees, and another section of state land is sacrificed to the Arabs. Out of fear of Arab violence, we get more violence, more squatting on state land, more violence, etc.
The previous governments did nothing about this and to declare that it is happening now because of the current coalition is not really true.
The right-wing members of the current coalition, which is unstable and liable to fall at any moment, find it hard to act against this phenomenon.
It's like a game of chicken. The Ra'am Party flexes its muscles, threatens to act against the government (and does act against the government), but does it really want to bring this coalition down—the first one in which an Arab political party has had membership? The first one in which there is some actual movement towards improving conditions in the Arab towns and villages in the country?
On the other hand, can Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and others in his ideological camp flex their muscles and put down violence that threatens to spiral out of control without giving in to demands to stop the planting, among other things? Can he stand on the edge of the cliff and trust that Ra'am Party head Mansour Abbas wants this government to fall as "much" as he does?
And, of course, there is the opposition—composed of parties that agree ideologically with Bennett but cannot stomach the current coalition (and that refused to cooperate with Bennett and others before there was no other choice but to form this broad coalition with the left and with Ra'am or go to a fifth election). In this precarious moment, will they continue to do whatever they can to embarrass Bennett and bring the government down, or will they put the needs of the Jewish state before political considerations and cooperate with the government to bring order to the chaos? And if we are forced into early elections yet again, will we be back to the same degree of paralysis there was before Bennett and Lapid got a government up and running?