The Zionist Ideal of Self-Reliance May Be behind Israel’s Vaccination Success

As the week began, the Jewish state was outpacing the UK and U.S. in vaccinations per capita by more than seven to one. To explain this remarkable efficiency, some observers have cited the country’s highly centralized healthcare system, others the decentralization of authority to give vaccines. Perhaps, writes, Ira Stoll, it’s some combination of the two. Stoll also cites some additional reasons:

One factor is that the Jewish religion that shapes Israel’s values places a high value on saving lives. . . . Another factor is that Israel is a democracy.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while long-serving, is in what seems like a perpetual battle for political survival. . . . Netanyahu wants re-election and credit for Israel’s voters for doing a good job with the vaccine. Politics and public-health incentives are aligned. The Israeli health minister, Yuli Edelstein, . . . grew up in the Soviet Union, which sent him to the Gulag on phony charges after he applied to migrate to Israel. For someone who has defeated the KGB and the Soviet Communist superpower, tackling the coronavirus may seem less daunting.

Relatedly, Israelis are not shy about putting their own country first. They are generous in aiding other countries in need, from Africa to Haiti. But when one’s own small country has served as a refuge for Jews fleeing brutal persecution and hardship in places such as Europe, Iraq, Ethiopia, and Yemen, one accumulates a certain hard-earned contempt for the perils of waiting for help from the United Nations or the World Health Organization. Israelis realize that their lives depend on their own hustle. That is what Zionism, the idea of a Jewish state, is all about: Jewish self-reliance and national responsibility for Jewish security.

It’s worth mentioning, too, that the Israeli national identity includes Israeli Arabs and Druze. Many Israeli doctors are Arab—to the point where campaigns are underway to get smart Arab high-school students to think about going into the high-tech start-up sector instead of following the well-worn path to medical school.

Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Coronavirus, Israeli democracy, Judaism

Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University