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Israel needs elections right now

Imagine that one bright morning, a fictional country is beset by a massive wave of deadly car crashes, killing thousands and wounding hundreds.

No one can understand the cause of this strange phenomenon and so in response the government orders a complete halt to all driving.

The economic and social damage is immeasurable. The public is scared to death while car crashes drop to zero.

The prime minister of this fictional nation goes on TV and proudly declares: “We have defeated the car crash plague. Drive safely, your keys are in the ignition.”

Within a short while, the accidents resume. Later on, it is learned that all the fatalities were people over the age of 24, who all suffered from severe vision problems.

Everybody realizes that if the government had only stopped those who were prone to these accidents from driving, the problem would have been solved. But the prime minister again orders every single driver off the road, regardless of age.

This is the decision-making process under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governance.

Illogical, haphazard and politically motivated decisions – not data-driven ones – have brought us to the precipice of disaster for our health, economy, society and education system.

Netanyahu is using distorted data and the result is a public crisis of confidence in government not seen since the end of the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

The heavy economic and health costs wrought by Netanyahu’s failed policies will be paid for decades by the millions of Israelis driven into panic by his administration’s negligence.

This is why more than 600 Israeli doctors put their names to a letter signed by more than 11,000 physicians and scientists all over the world, calling for “all efforts and resources to be focused on protecting only the elderly and those prone to illness.”

In other words, it is far preferable to place a high-risk group in closure than implement a disastrous lockdown for the entire population.

The country’s education system has to be allowed to reopen, thereby halting the grave threat to the futures of millions of children, especially those from low-income families.

Business and cultural institutions should also be allowed to operate, with strict enforcement of social distancing and a ban on mass gatherings in enclosed spaces.

But Netanyahu is preventing any serious debate on alternatives put forwards by the medical and scientific community.

Many countries placed their population under lockdown during the first wave of the coronavirus. All, except Israel, learned the hard lesson that total closure is total stupidity.

Now, when the world is in the midst of an apparent second wave of the virus, no other world leader has decided to imprison their people and prevent them from traveling abroad.

And somehow, even with Israel taking the most radical option, the only country whose make Netanyahu’s failures pale in comparison is the United States.

The coronavirus has hurt the population less than Netanyahu’s steps to fight it.

Netanyahu must go home, just as Golda Meir and Moshe Dayan did in the wake of the Yom Kippur War.

The public discourse must focus on the consequences of his policies and not his personality.

And those who do not believe in the power of the ballot to oust him from power have an outlook as absurd and undemocratic as those politicians who cling to their seats, warning that a snap election would hamper the battle against coronavirus.

The opposite is true. Israel must have an election to stop Netanyahu’s incompetence in the face of the pandemic. This vote will be for the country’s strategy to overcome the pandemic.

Other issues such as the Palestinian conflict and reforms of the justice system must wait for now.

An early election costs less than one week of lockdown, and is minuscule in comparison to the benefits of ending this downward spiral into which he has plunged us.

In such an election, every party will have to present an alternative strategy to fight the pandemic and rebuild the country, if they wish to regain the public’s trust.

Israel must have an election now, for our national catastrophe only grows greater with every day that passes.

Original: Haim Ramon – Ynetnews