Israel vs the UK: the dilemma of curbing Covid in a post-vaccine world
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett adopts the UK ‘personal responsibility’ approach to Covid management, with a twist
Naftali Bennett began his term as Israel’s new prime minister by praising his predecessor for the successful Covid vaccination programme and promising more of the same. “Vaccinations, not lockdowns” has been his mantra. The pivot from state-mandated measures to personal responsibility was straight from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s playbook.
Bennett will have noticed that “Freedom Day” hasn’t gone quite as hoped in the UK, as the Delta variant interferes with plans for a carefree unlocking. Now the Israeli leader is sounding a little less British too. In reality, though, the Israeli approach is just different enough from the UK one to allow Bennett to claim he’s both opened up and stayed vigilant.
On July 13, in a televised speech, he called on Israelis to “take responsibility” or face the prospect of a new lockdown. But he also held out a carrot: greater care on the part of Israelis could see the threat abate within five weeks. Specifically, he asked people not to travel abroad. “Your trip will be cancelled anyway, so I advise you not to even order tickets.”..