Israel Is Letting People Out of Their Homes Without a Coronavirus Exit Strategy

The streets are bustling again. Masks mostly dangle from chins, if they are used at all. Social distancing seems to be a recommendation, at best. The Israeli public has returned – albeit partially – to routine. This has happened due to the drop in new COVID-19 patients and the declarations of the public health system’s heads that they have managed to stop the spread of the virus. What the cabinet is doing during its frequent meetings, where it discusses recommendations to lift some restrictions, is mainly attempting to catch up to the situation on the ground.

As usual, this is happening in an unruly manner. Some of the regulations are vaguely worded, others contradict each other or lack any logic. Enforcement by police and inspectors is also not uniform or explained. The cabinet discussed opening hair salons and beauty parlors and Haaretz reported that Culture Minister Miri Regev insisted on allowing laser hair removal treatments to resume. While lines snaked around IKEA, the police conducted a heroic chase after a lone surfer, far out at sea, off the Tel Aviv beach.