Coronavirus Updates From Israel: April 29

Dear Friends,

Yom ha’Zicharon, one of the saddest days of the year, ended last night. It was a day filled with sorrow and memories of the lost lives due to war and terror, and here it is felt by everyone, no matter how long you’ve lived in Israel. The siren went off at 8pm the previous night, and again at 11:00 yesterday morning. It was soulful.

The day moves on and at dusk everything slowly transformed into the most joyous time of the year, the moment the stars come out. This year, even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, is no exception.

Even though we are celebrating privately, in our own yards, in “lockdown” mode, we are all filled with pride celebrating Israel’s 72 years of being a sovereign strong Jewish nation. 

My daughter and I coloring in a banner to celebrate Israel’s 72nd birthday.

Every year I marvel at my children, understanding the culture & language so much more than I ever will.

Every year I think of the life we would be living had we not made Aliyah to Israel, and I thank God we are here.

Every year my stomach clenches as I realize my children are that much closer to serving in the IDF.

And every year I can’t finish singing HaTikvah because I choke on the words. 

Thank you to everyone out there celebrating along with us! We look forward to hosting you soon!

Natalie Sopinsky
Director of Development
Rescuers Without Borders

The Latest Update on Coronavirus in Israel

Happy Israeli Independence Day! Yom HaAtzmaut Sameach!

As Israel witnesses a slow decline in the new number of coronavirus cases, we’re steadily taking more steps each week to get back to a more structured, bustling life.

Given the most recent announcement that school children in grades 1-3 will be returning back to school, with shorter days and smaller classes, it’s likely that Yom HaAtzmaut will be the last day that we’ll see the severe restrictions on movement, for now (more on that below). While parents across the country are clearly excited for the opportunity to return to routine next week, the Ministry of Health is keeping a close watch. The elderly and the immunocompromised will still be discouraged from venturing out, and certainly, a visit from the grandchildren will remain off the table for many.

As it stands now, there are just over 15,700 total active cases of coronavirus in Israel, 91 of which are in critical condition. 7,929 people have already recovered from the illness, while total deaths are currently at 212, many of which had preexisting medical conditions.

While being such a small country has had its drawbacks in many arenas of Israel’s history, the coronavirus pandemic has been one challenge where being so small has actually been a huge benefit. A smaller, more contained population means that officials have been able to get a clearer view of the spread of the virus, and zero-in on hotspots more efficiently. Along with that, the government, working with the Ministry of Health, has been able to enforce social distancing and other preventative measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.

For those who have been watching Israel closely over the years, there seem to be no coincidences for this small but strong-willed nation. Having experienced the challenges presented by coronavirus through Passover, Holocaust Memorial Day last week, and now Remembrance Day and Independence Day, the timing is uncanny. It’s so striking how capable we are as a young nation to pull through, as unexpected and unclear as the situation may be.

Terror Attack on Rememberence Day

You would think they’d give us a break on Remembrance Day – the day we’re all mourning our soldiers who fell in battle, and victims of terror. But, no. Yesterday, in Kfar Saba – a city in central Israel, a terrorist stabbed a 62-year-old woman.

One of our medics happened to be nearby, and quickly jumped to treat the woman, along with MDA medics. She was evacuated to the hospital in critical condition, for further treatment.

The 19-year-old terrorist was shot and neutralized by security forces, and is now listed in light condition.

Happy 72nd Birthday, Israel!

Just as this year’s Passover looked like no other Passover we’ve seen in modern-day Israel, this year’s Independence Day, and Remembrance Day immediately preceding it, is different to say the least.

Our Remembrance Day in honor of our fallen soldiers, and Independence day, are some of the most unifying days on the Israeli calendar. These two days hold immeasurable meaning to Israelis across ethnic and religious backgrounds, across generations and cultures.

And yet, this year, we were physically apart like never before. Military cemeteries were quiet, as visiting the graves of the fallen was officially discouraged. Communal ceremonies and concerts didn’t take place. State ceremonies were held completely over live stream, in front of empty chairs.

In fact, stricter restrictions that the country saw on Seder night have been put back into place for Independence Day, when many communal gatherings, concerts, and family barbecues usually take place.

In hopes to curb any further spread of the virus, Israelis are observing these two important days at home. For the first time in this country’s history. Celebratory prayer services will be held between balconies, and many municipalities have organized traveling concerts on designated floats to keep up the spirit and encourage Israelis to stay home.

Intercity travel will be forbidden, and all supermarkets and non-essential stores will be closed, from Tuesday night until Wednesday evening.

But leave it to Israelis to still find a way to celebrate and enjoy the day as much as ever.

Chag Sameach!

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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.