Coronavirus Updates From Israel: April 16

Dear Friends,

Pesach (Passover) has come to an end, this normally gives parents a thrill knowing that soon the children will return to school and life will get “back to normal.” 

But, not this year.

No “getting back to normal” for anyone.

This Pesach holiday was not so different from the weeks leading up to it… but of course we had the seder, and our home has been filled with matzah. I hope it was a special time for all of you as well.

As many of you know, Pesach is one of the busiest travel times of the entire year here. The hotels are sold out as families from abroad book their entire Pesach vacation, and thus, don’t have the hassle of cleaning their own homes and cooking for Pesach. Locally, families use this time to travel around the country, visiting relatives and various sites. We have never done this, being “olim” without local family. 

With the restrictions against traveling, this year the rest of the country is living life just like us, and we are not the only ones “stuck” on the yishuv without fancy travel plans. Now, when we go out for walks, we see other families walking too! When we eat lunch on our porch we smell the barbecue our neighbors are preparing for their own lunch!! EVERYONE is home!!!  And what a good place to be. 

Our leadership is slowly directing the Israeli economy out of this Corona-freeze, while our statistics reveal a steady improvement. Read below for interesting news and updates, and hopefully soon we’ll all be through this in good health!

Natalie Sopinsky
Director of Development
Rescuers Without Borders

The Latest Update on Coronavirus in Israel

As we celebrated Passover, the Festival of Freedom, inside our own homes, we couldn’t help but look for the good in what can easily look like a bleak situation.

On one hand, there are victims of coronavirus who are in serious condition. In all, we’ve got over 12,500 active cases of coronavirus, over 130 in critical condition, and 143 deaths. Quarantine is still being heavily enforced as certain neighborhoods in Israel are restricted from leaving their homes, and inter-city travel is still largely prohibited.

On the other hand, over 2,600 people have already recovered, and some of the very first patients are now contributing their blood for plasma therapy (more on that later). There are already plans from the government on how to ease children back into school, and in honor of Passover, we’ve seen truly inspiring acts of “love thy neighbor as yourself.” Take Seder night, where many communities organized a balcony recital of the “Four Questions” for their neighbors who are missing their grandchildren for the holiday.

Nature itself, seems to be operating on a higher frequency, as well. Thanks to the plentiful rainfall we received these last two winters, the Kinneret, aka the Sea of Galilee, has risen to full capacity for the first time in decades. Not only that, but the dam that shunts water to the Jordan River may need to be opened. Beyond the Kinneret’s immense agricultural, ecosystemic, and religious significance, there’s a deep reason why so many of us have been following the water levels of the Kinneret over the years. The health of the Land, from how the deserts are blossoming, to the levels of the Dead Sea and the Kinneret, reflects the spiritual health and unity of the Jewish People.

The healthy state of the Land of Israel is just the message that we all need right now.

Healed From Corona and Back to Saving Lives

Meet Israel’s COVID-19 patient #48: Menachem Gelt.

Menachem is one of our volunteer medics in the Shomron, he fought the virus while remaining under quarantine in his own home located in a Shomron-based town called Einav.

We are immensely grateful to G-d for his full recovery, and now we are pleased to have him back on the team, saving lives.

While we are so relieved that our volunteer is back in action, we do have to face the fact that all of our volunteers are exposed to dangers of terrorism and coronavirus every single day. We want them to have the best. We give them regular training and support as a tight-knit team. But we can’t give them all of the life-saving equipment they need to protect themselves.

We’re currently running an online campaign to raise money for protective suits for all of our volunteers who need to administer coronavirus tests to those in need. They need masks and gloves for treating regular medical emergency victims, as well.

Be part of this incredible community. Support our brave volunteers. Donate today!

Israel Leads the Way With Coronavirus Treatments

Israel continues topping the charts as the safest country in the world during this COVID-19 pandemic. From the regularly-updated safety measures, to en pointe medical protocol, it’s easy to see why.

Take Israel-based Pluristem. They’ve developed a placenta-derived cell therapy product, called PLX cells. All of the patients that have volunteered to test this product witnessed significant improvement in their respiratory issues. Simply put, this product stymies the overactivation of the immune system, which tends to happen when the body is faced with pathogens like the cells of the coronavirus, resulting in the health complications that are unique to the coronavirus.

Then there’s the more well-known plasma therapy. While many countries are discussing this as a possible method of treatment for those who are severely ill with coronavirus, few have begun implementing it. Israel is cautiously moving forward with what sounds like a viable option for those in need.

Often referred to as the passive vaccine, plasma therapy is a treatment that involves taking the blood plasma from an individual who has recovered from the disease and transferring it to a currently-ill patient. This would give the patient antibodies necessary to fight the virus more effectively and with less severe symtoms.

Want to keep tabs on the latest best-practices in the face of the coronavirus pandemic? Keep your eyes on the medical scene in Israel.

photo credit: BAZ RATNER/REUTERS

Navy Commando Joins Fight Against Covid-19

What do a Navy commando unit and a team of medical professionals have in common?

They both have the skills that can save lives.

In this fascinating initiative, Israel’s Navy commando unit has taken up an unexpected yet fitting role in Israel’s efforts to support those suffering from severe side effects of coronavirus. Because victims of the virus suffer from lack of oxygen, a team of Navy commandos is converting their supply of oxygen tanks into oxygen tanks that are up to health industry standards.

These tanks are being delivered across the country, and these soldiers are spreading the word about this project to other Navy teams across the world.

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הצלה ללא גבולות - Rescuers Without Borders

Rescuers Without Borders is an Israeli volunteer organization, with a network of over 1,600 medics, paramedics, and doctors, who are committed to saving lives.