The State of Israel has long been lauded for its for its technological advancements that have placed it significantly ahead of many other nations for decades. Ranging from the medical, technical, and scientific fields, Israel has founded much of the world’s top technological advancements, including “Waze,” the now-Google owned GPS Navigation Software, to the revolutionary technology of drip-irrigation, which allows areas dealing with drought to save water and nutrients by minimizing the risk of evaporation. Other developments, such as the invention of the cherry tomato, have impacted the world and forced other nations to continue furthering their technological sectors in order to compete.
When it came time for Israel to step up to the plate and fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Israel, of course, handled the pandemic swiftly and quickly shut down the nation to prevent any further cases. By forcing new arrivals into the country to quarantine for at least fourteen days and using contact tracing and tracking to find anyone who may have been in proximity with a sick person, Israel effectively traced every single case and prevented the virus from transmitting.
Now only three months after its first confirmed cases, Israel has been able to send its kids back to schools, reopen shopping malls and public spaces, and effectively re-establish normal life within the country.
“We know that someone was here in the park. We can get from the [phone] company all the details about the hour, the place, exactly the place… and we can understand who else was around,” said Arik Brabbing, a former agent for the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency. This view of using phone applications to track Israeli citizens was also echoed by Israel’s National Security Advisor, Meir Ben-Shabbt, who stated that “It is precisely now when we need this tool… to break the chain of contagion and permit the people to go on with their lives.”
Israel’s use of counter-terrorism software to trace and follow potential coronavirus cases may be considered an over-extension of the power of the government to some, but it quickly and effectively ended quarantine in the country and saved countless lives, as Israel’s quick actions allowed for only 280 deaths and prevented countless more from occuring. Compared with numerous other countries, Israel handled COVID-19 in the correct way, and the country should be viewed as a guiding light towards the end of the coronavirus. The question now becomes; might the rest of the world finally begin to view Israel, as they have saved millions of lives and even set up a joint task force with the Palestinian Authority to prevent future coronavirus cases, as a force of technological good, rather than a military-annexation machine?
This is not to say, of course, that Israel can do no wrong – the Israel government has made mistakes before and will continue to make mistakes. However, things are not completely black and white, and to view Israel as either an entirely positive force or entirely negative force is wrong. What Israel has done regarding the COVID-19 pandemic is exemplary and should be praised. If the rest of the world is looking for models on how to handle the coronavirus, they have one – the State of Israel.
Israel’s technological advancements have placed it far ahead of the rest of the world, and it continues to accomplish amazing achievements even during a pandemic, including being close to finding a vaccine and using antibodies to fight the virus. Eventually, after the pandemic ends, we can only hope that the world begins to view Israel in a more positive light, as their medical strides continue to account for millions more of saved lives every day, and other countries may begin to view Israel as the country it truly is.