Israel’s Culture and Demography Make It Less Vulnerable to Epidemics—and to Terrorism—than Europe

March 18, 2020 | Eyal Zisser
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According to the World Health Organization, Europe has replaced China as the center of the coronavirus epidemic. By contrast, Israel seems thus far to have been more successful at containing its spread. Eyal Zisser ascribes the differences to two factors: the much larger proportion of the European population that is elderly (and thus more vulnerable to disease) and Israel’s swifter and more aggressive response:

There is a distinct connection between these two factors: . . . the European ideal of living for today and preferring a certain quality of life and prosperity over having and raising children is . . . at the root of Europe’s low birth rates. These low birthrates have led to severe shortages of workers and the flooding of the continent with labor migrants from across the globe, mainly from Africa and the Arab world.

The challenges facing Europe were evident as early as ten years ago when the threat of Islamic terror intensified. At the root of this threat were the Muslim immigrants across the continent who failed to assimilate. The European response to this challenge was denial. Unlike Israel, instead of dealing with the threat, the Europeans opted to tolerate terroristic motivations and avoided implementing measures to protect themselves—all in the name of preserving the rights of the individual and concerns over lowering the quality of life.

The Europeans have grown accustomed to criticizing and preaching to the Jewish state, but it appears that tiny Israel has some things to teach Europe. . . . [T]he Israeli way of doing things provides a model of how a modern Western country can be capable of rallying society and state institutions toward a singular purpose, while also maintaining dynamism, growth, openness—and yes, a positive natural growth rate as well.

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