Israel’s ‘vax, don’t lock down’ policy was working. Then along came Delta
Now vaccine poster-boy nation is giving jabs to kids and tightening borders as world watches to see what happens next
In his inaugural speech to the Israeli parliament, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett addressed an impressively detailed list of the challenges his ruling coalition faces. Only one issue went unmentioned: the fight against Covid-19. As far as the prime minister and public were concerned, the pandemic was over, the virus vanquished by Israel’s world-leading vaccination campaign.
That belief lasted a week. In mid-June, new and alarming cases of the virus began to sprout. The Delta variant was responsible, experts said. It was being imported by Israelis returning from abroad. A large percentage of those infected were children.
Ever since Israel began its remarkable vaccine rollout, its progress has been a focus of international interest. Many Israeli experts now believe the country has reached herd immunity, yet that hasn’t dispensed with the need for a policy response to the surge in Delta variant cases...