A U.S.-born Israeli author and former politician believes both President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been sensitive to the long-term ramifications of economic shutdowns in their respective countries.
More than 4,600 Israelis are currently infected with the coronavirus, and the death toll reached 16 on Monday. The government recently announced its plan to increase testing to 30,000 daily, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has further tightened restrictions on movement that will reduce the number of people outdoors and their capability of spreading the virus.
"We're a very small country," notes David Rubin, author of Trump and the Jews and a former mayor of the Israeli town of Shiloh. "We're about the size of New Jersey. We have a relatively dense population, so we're more in the same boat as a state like New Jersey or New York, which has been hit rather hard. In those cases and in our case, it's critical to have a very strong shutdown limiting the social interaction, because that's how you spread the disease."
But Rubin says Prime Minister Netanyahu is very sensitive to the ramifications a long-term shutdown would have on Israel's economy.
"He's been trying to find a balance, as has President Trump. Finding the balance is not an easy thing because you want to combat the virus, but at the same time, you don't want to destroy the economy for the long term," the former politician explains. "I think that Netanyahu so far has been sensitive to that, and I think that Trump as well has been very sensitive to that."
The Israeli government has given no word on how much longer its shutdown will continue.