I know these days are difficult. Many of you wanted to be in Israel at this time… it is the best time of year to be here. Now, instead, many of you will be alone tomorrow night for seder. But worst of all, we all know at least one person struck with the Coronavirus.
Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke to us today, and ended with these powerful words that I’m repeating to you here:
“May we get through this trouble together, and emerge from quarantine to freedom.”
We’ll get through this, and we’ll come out stronger then ever, as we always do.
I wish you all a Happy Passover,
Director of Development
Rescuers Without Borders
The Latest Update on Coronavirus in Israel
Mixed in with the regular bustle of nation-wide Passover preparations, we’re facing unusual questions and challenges–like the nation-wide egg shortage right before a holiday during which many consume more eggs than usual, and the reality that Jews worldwide are facing with the prospect of spending Seder night apart from our families.
Meanwhile, the government is doing their best to flatten the curve of the increase in coronavirus cases. Many are noting on the timing of a new protocol that was announced today: a complete lockdown from Wednesday afternoon until Thursday morning. Seder night. Just as the Jews in Egypt were commanded to stay inside their homes for protection against the finger of G-d that smote Egypt’s firstborns, we in Israel were just ordered to stay inside our homes for the protection of us all from this unseen threat. The timing is certainly striking, and gives us hope for a brighter future when this has passed.
While the general public is doing their best to adhere to the constantly-updated protocols, medical professionals and, of course, Rescuers Without Borders volunteers, are out there delivering emergency medical care and administering coronavirus tests as needed, round the clock.
As it stands now, there are currently over 6000 active cases of coronavirus in Israel. Almost 550 people have recovered, while over 110 are on ventilators and in critical condition. The death toll has reached 60, with most victims having had preexisting conditions.
Our BRAVO Campaign Continues
For the past couple of weeks, Rescuers Without Borders has partnered with Sabon and grocery store chain Yainot Beitan to deliver gift bags of luxury self-care products and grocery store coupons to the medical teams working tirelessly in the fight against the coronavirus.
Hundreds of gifts were delivered in Jerusalem-based Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital, as well as Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba.
Eran Bitton, ICU nurse in the Meir medical center and head of the Rescuers Without Borders Karnei Shomron team says,
“We thank Rescuers Without Borders from the bottom of our hearts in their incredible efforts to give us unending encouragement and support, and particularly during these trying times. Thank You!”
Giving Away a Patent, Purely to Save Lives
Israel never backs down from aiding in global humanitarian efforts, whenever it can.
We’ve often been one of the first to fly over to the scene of a disastrous earthquake, brush fire, or set up permanent camps, as Rescuers Without Borders has done, in some of the poorest corners of the world.
This time, the Israel division of med-tech company, Medtronic, is offering up their patents to their high-caliber ventilators so that other manufacturers can produce this life-saving piece of equipment. That’s right, Medtronic is foregoing the enormous profits they can make at a time when their product is in such high demand, in order to save the lives of coronavirus patients around the world.
In his interview with Arutz Sheva, the CEO of the Israel division, Yaron Yitzhari, said that more than the patent, they are giving away the detailed blueprints of the ventilators, as well. This is just the 3rd phase of the company’s efforts to meet tremendous worldwide demands, after doubling their production, and partnering with another manufacturing fascility to increase production capacity.
Yitzhari said that their company’s mission is to save lives, and with offering up their patents and blueprints free of charge, it shows.
Food to the Needy in Israel’s Coronavirus Hotspot
It’s easy to get bogged down by the negativity in the news. But the good news can be found for those who seek it.
This story is certainly inspiring, and a different spin on the difficult situation that the city of Bnei Brak, a religious enclave close to Tel Aviv, has found itself in. As a hotspot for the highest coronavirus cases in the country, the city has been forced into complete shutdown, with no citizens allowed to travel in or out.
This is also an area where the amount of citizens living under the poverty level is relatively high. So, where charity organizations generally set up pick-up points in every city to get the Passover essentials to those in need, Bnei Brak is being excluded for necessary safety precautions.
In light of the city’s lockdown, the IDF has deployed hundreds of soldiers to the area. No, not to contain riots, but to deliver food to the needy. Over 1000 tons of it.
It takes an army.— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) April 7, 2020
Last night, IDF soldiers packed 8,000 boxes with 50 tons of fruit and vegetables for the residents of Bnei Brak who are in lockdown due to the high rate of #COVID19 infection in the city. We’re delivering the boxes right now to families in need. pic.twitter.com/bdKs1cj8bo
In an article from Times of Israel about this unusual and inspiring mission, IDF sources say that the food packages were prepared by private caterers, and are being delivered by hand by hundreds of soldiers. No doubt a tiring but rewarding mission. And these soldiers are being met with (social-distancing friendly) open arms, as citizens offer food and drink to the hardworking soldiers. While they cannot accept food or drink due to safety measures, the sentiment is there all the same.
If there’s one thing that can inspire us all during this festival of freedom, when so much of our freedom has been limited, it’s that we are not alone. Not just as a country, and not as a people. The entire world in this together, and we need unity now more than ever.