Never before has there been so much international attention focused on Israel’s special ability to cope with crises like no other country. Also in Denmark, the media has started writing about other things than war, terrorist attacks and conflicts. There are indications that several Danish media have opened their eyes to the fact that Israel is so much more than a Jewish state located in a very harsh neighborhood, with Arab enemies who are ready to annihilate the small country the size of Jutland.
In Fyens Stiftstidende, Denmark’s ambassador, Anne Dorte Rigelsen talks about the special Israeli spirit – also called chutzpah and how it has helped the country to see the light at the end of the Corona tunnel and the economic crisis that has left its mark on the Israeli economy.
At the time of writing, Israel is in the middle of its third Corona shutdown with strict restrictions in the fight against the very high daily infection rates. Read MIFF’s articles on the Corona crisis in Israel HERE.
The Corona crisis will be felt for a long time. Poor Israelis have become even poorer, the socially disadvantaged have become even more vulnerable and many small businesses are going bankrupt. Nevertheless, economic key figures show, according to Fyens Stiftstidende, that unemployment has fallen to 4.7%, after in 2020 it was as high as 26%. This suggests that Israeli companies are adapting to the new circumstances, which once again underlines the particular Israeli adaptability. Read MIFF’s articles on the economic crisis in Israel HERE.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has called the country’s vaccine race against Corona “Return to Life” and the vaccine program is rightly making headlines around the world. Read MIFF’s articles about the Danish connection to Israel’s impressive vaccine rollout HERE.
At the time of writing, Israel has vaccinated about 50% of its adult population over the age of 16. In comparison, Denmark has vaccinated less than 4%. Israel also has a plan to increase their daily Corona vaccinations from around 150,000 to 200,000. Israel’s effective vaccine rollout, combined with the nationwide Corona shutdown, has led Israel to begin to see indications of declining infection rates. Israel has also experienced record high infection rates with 10,000 daily newborns and the highest infection rate since the Corona crisis came to the country – over 10%. Read MIFF’s article January 18: Has passed 4000 Corona deaths. Read: What is it that Israel can do that the EU and Denmark cannot? And: Denmark tried to copy Israel’s vaccine program.
Israel is one of the most innovative countries in the world (read: Innovation Center Denmark, Tel Aviv: – Israel world champion in vaccinations and Start-Up). Israel, like no other country, manages to turn problems into opportunities. Israel has turned desert into fertile ground (read: Danish Innovation Center in Tel Aviv: – Danish companies could learn something from Israel), air into water (read: Gaza gets clean drinking water with Israeli technology), turned hacking into cyber security (read: Tel Aviv university course in cybersecurity voted the best in the world), transformed equipment into respirators (read: Israeli technology protects Corona patients in respirator from complications, Israeli invention can prevent respirator shortage, SodaStream has in collaboration with doctors developed oxygen machine for Corona patients) and researchers at Bar Ilan University who after 10 years of research have developed reusable mouthpieces of an almost permanent ultrasonic textile treatment technology for mechanical impregnation of zinc oxide nanoparticles in textiles – read more HERE.
Israel’s very special creativity and adaptability is due to the substance that society is made of: Chutzpah. Chutzpah is Hebrew for audacity and courage. Chutzpah also means that you are not afraid to think outside the box, find loopholes and solutions rather than limitations. In Israel, it is better known than anywhere else in the world that crises, war and terrorism require swift and effective action without lengthy discussions about insignificant details. In relation to Corona strategies, for example, Israeli doctors have rescued seriously ill patients by placing them in a heart-lung machine without putting them in a coma, thus increasing the patients’ chance of survival. Also read: Berlin praises Israel to the clouds
The downside of Israeli chutzpah is the Israelis’ ingenuity when it comes to circumventing the strict restrictions. For example, by moving the store in the garage, turning the restaurant into a synagogue, putting up a sign in front of the store with the scripture demonstration to keep it open, organizing gatherings on the beach and calling them demonstrations and much more. The ingenuity has meant that Israel has been forced to extend the restrictions.
Chutzpah can also take credit for the large drop in unemployment, for example by drone companies that are normally used in agriculture, instead being used for takeaway from restaurants, schoolteachers have switched to entertaining the elderly and children via Zoom, actors has invented transparent face masks, several residents have created apps where you can see which vaccine clinics have extra vaccines left at the end of the day so more can be vaccinated.
A few months ago, Israel realized that they could not win the battle against Corona, so the country’s vaccine program was launched. Israel came up with an ingenious offer that the vaccine manufacturers could not say no to. Israel’s health care was reorganized and the population received the necessary boost to fight Corona until the battle is won.