On the other hand

March 29, 2020 by Michael Kuttner
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Scenes of stranded backpackers at airports and remote places throughout the world have featured on news bulletins as the coronavirus pandemic takes hold.

In addition to youngsters on their overseas jaunts, there are also many older tourists who were enjoying a trip of a lifetime or visiting family in far-flung destinations. Large numbers are now stuck and prevented from returning home. In many cases, they have nowhere to stay and are hunkered down at airports. As flights are cancelled and countries shut their borders even for passengers in transit the situation is rapidly becoming a logistical and humanitarian disaster.

Most Governments have now washed their hands of the problem and basically told their nationals that they will need to fend for themselves. In other words “you are on your own and don’t expect us to provide any practical assistance.”

There is however one glaring exception to this sorry state of affairs.

Israel has once again shown how civilized countries should behave when their citizens are in trouble far away from their homeland. With the co-operation of various Israeli airline companies and the tireless work of dedicated staff at Israeli diplomatic missions, thousands of stranded people are being flown back from the four corners of the globe. No matter how remote or how complicated the route may be Israeli airlines are flying to Europe, South America, Africa and even Australia. In a first-ever non-stop flight to Perth, Israelis stranded in Australia and even New Zealand were airlifted back to the Holy Land.

When pressed to explain this amazing phenomenon the simple response from officials was “we don’t abandon family in times of distress.” This cardinal article of faith has been a characteristic over many years and explains why when faced with danger or threats to life no effort is spared to rescue and save.

What a contrast with most other countries. It demonstrates yet again what the Jewish State is really all about. Imagine if the State would have existed in the 1930’s and how many Jews would have been saved from annihilation. Today’s reality means that no Israeli is willfully abandoned. When I say Israeli it is important to remember that this encompasses all nationals without any distinction to their ethnicity, religion or social status.

In another “first” and also an example of what Israel is really all about a further group of Ethiopian Jews were airlifted and arrived as new Olim to reunite with families already in the country. At the same time a group of Americans arrived to start a new life here and were immediately put into quarantine for two weeks. In March despite the worldwide virus scare, 961 immigrants arrived to start a new life in Israel.

What other country in the midst of a raging pandemic is admitting immigrants and ensuring that they are helped to integrate as painlessly as possible? Truly an ingathering of the exiles.

If this is not an example of being a light unto the nations I do not know what is. Despite all our blemishes and problems the fact remains that this country is a beacon of light in an otherwise bleak and hypocritical world.



Natan Sharansky knows a thing or two about how to survive isolation.

Listen as he gives some tips on how to cope with the current situation:





 Social media is awash with jokes and cartoons pertaining to the current situation. Recognizing that being able to laugh here is the latest advice to harried husbands lock downed at home:


Are you not sorry now that you kept promising to do all those jobs when you had time?   

For those stressing at the supermarket prior to Passover: A shopping tip – even Noah only took TWO of each!!!

Stay well and may we meet again next week in good health.


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