On the other hand

March 8, 2020 by Michael Kuttner
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The coronavirus has arrived in Israel with many people in quarantine and tourists from certain countries banned.

The Health Ministry has introduced draconian measures to limit the spread of the virus and this has generated not unexpected criticism. So far at least, unlike Australia, we have not seen any run on toilet paper at the supermarkets.

Israel was the first country in the world to conduct a general election with special polling booths for those in quarantine and this seems to have been a success. Less successful however has been the result of the election which on present indications has produced yet another deadlock. Perhaps the solution is for all members of Knesset to go into permanent quarantine and relieve citizens from their continuing Purim shpiel.

Meanwhile life continues with a steady flow of good news.


 Israeli researchers have developed an effective vaccine against avian Coronavirus Infectious Bronchitis Virus (IBV) and are adapting it to create a human vaccine against Coronavirus (COVID-19), which is rapidly spreading around the globe.

After four years of multi-disciplinary research funded by Israel’s Ministry of Science and Technology in cooperation with Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture, the MIGAL Galilee Research Institute has achieved a scientific breakthrough that may lead to the rapid creation of a vaccine against coronavirus in the coming weeks.

Commenting on the news, the CEO of MIGAL, said that “given the urgent global need for a human coronavirus vaccine, we are doing everything we can to accelerate development. Our goal is to produce the vaccine during the next 8-10 weeks, and to achieve safety approval in 90 days.”

The vaccine will be oral, making it particularly accessible to the general public.


Thanks to this year’s record winter rainfall stunning wild flowers are blooming in the Dead Sea area.

The seven kilometer stretch between Kibbutz Kalya and Ovnat is rife with fields of annual species whose seeds can lay dormant in the desert for years until there is enough water for them to germinate. These include swaths of Rainbow Toadflax, which comes in mauve, yellow or white, with orange dots’ pink-leaved rumex; yellow Faktorowsky’s Aaronsonia; and white mignonette. Poppies abound, too.

Faktorowsky’s Aaronsonia is named after botanist and agronomist Aaron Aaronsohn, who is best known for having discovered one of the wild ancestors of wheat — Triticum dicoccum, otherwise known as spelt wheat — in 1906, in what was then Ottoman Palestine.


The IDF remains a world leader in natural disaster response, sending rescue teams to every corner of the world when catastrophe strikes.

While the Israeli military is best known as an elite fighting force, the IDF’s Field Hospital Unit is one of the finest in the world, ready to send rescuers to natural disaster sites at the drop of a hat.

The unit remains the only body to hold the World Health Organization’s highest accreditation.



Israeli soldiers stationed near the Syrian border on the Golan were witness to an experience which they can only describe as a miracle.

A violent storm approached from Syrian territory and as incredulous IDF soldiers watched and prepared to take cover the storm stopped at the border and did not advance any further into Israel.


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