As Israel is at risk of entering a second wave, it is time to think about a sustainable long term plan that can protect the population at high risk, without destroying further our very fragile economy nor canceling our civil liberties.
The government needs to clarify its tools, goals, and the sustainability of its policies in the long term. Even to our politicians, it is clear that another lockdown would be a disaster for our country. Unfortunately, the government is using the fear of lockdowns to push the public into obedience. It might be satisfying for their ego, but it is an obstacle to the country's social and economic recovery. By installing the fear of future lockdowns, they prevent individuals and businesses from taking risks and actively engage in economic recovery.
The uncertainty created by unclear government policies reduces Israeli confidence in forming reasonable expectations about the future. In regular times, we make choices based on our limited knowledge and reasonable assumptions. Until recently, reasonable assumptions would have been, I am going to work, or my kids are in school during the week, or I can visit my family. For most of us, those assumptions had rarely been proven wrong, so we felt confident to use them to make decisions about the future.
Today, those reasonable assumptions don't exist anymore, and we are all struggling to make choices. This unease is infiltrating all aspects of our lives and prevents us from forming new routines in this changing world.
In a period of high uncertainty, individuals tend to be more risk-averse, so we shy away from taking important decisions. New potential businesses aren't opening, and existing ones are afraid to expand. New careers don't start; school enrollment is paused, travel is canceled, big purchases are delayed. Without people making choices and act on them, the economy comes to a halt.
Instead of brandishing the flag of fear and lockdowns, a more respectful government would look for solutions that keep the high-risk population safe without destroying the economy. I proposed this policy in Mid-March, very few policymakers pay attention, and the majority preferred to put the country on house arrest for weeks.
It is time to take "mandatory lockdown" out of our lexicon. The government cannot use this policy as a stick to control us into obedience. They are generating fear and uncertainty preventing our society to re-organize, restart, and prosper again.
Only free, confident, and reasonably happy individuals will go back to create, take risks, work, study, enjoy a vacation, or buy goods and services.