Did Benny Gantz Sell Out?

Citing the severity of the coronavirus as his reason for compromising, Benny Gantz acquiesced to joining a Unity Government with his rival, Benjamin Netanyahu, who will serve a year and a half as PM before handing the reins to Gantz. The decision has enraged many of Gantz’ supporters, who see the move as a betrayal.

…doesn’t Benny Gantz, who so earnestly undertook from that Knesset speaker’s chair on Thursday to restore Israeli democracy, risk placing himself among the ranks of those who are weakening it?

There’s a corona epidemic. We need a government. There is no government other than one headed by Netanyahu. It’s good that Gantz is joining it.

A unity government is what Israelis want and need. In half a year, or a year, when things go back to normal, they might reconsider their position. But for now, when they are all preoccupied with a deadly virus, they have little patience for petty games of politics. So, for most of them, even those among them who can’t stand the PM, this is good news.

Where Is Joe?

Naturally, the coronavirus has stolen America’s attention away from the Democratic primary, but that hasn’t stopped some Democrats from asking: where is Joe and why isn’t he making himself heard during this crisis? More at The Guardian.

… there are things that a well-connected and trusted politician can do even from the middle of self-isolation, such as speaking to communities and populations who distrust Trump and providing a platform to people with good ideas about what to do next.

Biden has been forced to watch from the sidelines as President Trump steals the spotlight with daily coronavirus briefings that have been a ratings smash.

…If the president indeed has a Teflon coating, it’s thin. You’ve gotta bet he’ll find a way to self-destruct. Wherever Joe Biden is, he might be smart to stay there and let his reputation carry the load his reality can no longer pack.

How Can We Help the Elderly During a Pandemic?

Discussions about the coronavirus, which disproportionately affects the elderly, have all too often revealed a shocking lack of concern for the health, well-being, and dignity of senior citizens. Here are takes on how people can show support for the seniors in their lives:

We must also reject suggestions that it makes sense to prioritize the care of those who are young and healthy over those who are elderly or have disabilities. Such considerations turn human lives into checkmarks on a page rather than the sacred mystery they are. When we entertain these ideas, something of our very humanity is lost.

If you, like me, have much adored older relatives who are meeting your pleas to self-isolate with amusement or intransigence, you may be feeling increasingly desperate… If your loved one puts on a stiff upper lip or dismisses you as paranoid, it is worth remembering that there is nothing more infuriating than a high-handed know-all who insists they know what’s best for you. Moreover, we are all vulnerable to using denial to cope with the things that frighten us.

There is a silver lining during this difficult crisis. It is the random acts of kindness that continue to pop up. The myriad neighbors offering help to seniors in their particular areas has been heartwarming. Facebook messages from strangers have offered pickup and delivery of any item for seniors or others in need.

Life will return to normal at some point. This is a wake-up call to plan ahead for the most vulnerable in our lives. They need us.

Who Decides What’s Essential and What’s Superfluous?

In order to slow the spread of the pandemic, non-essential businesses are shutting down around the country. There’s just one problem: who get’s to decide what is essential and what isn’t?

In the face of the global pandemic, most cities and states have ordered nonessential businesses to close. But exactly what that means has become a frequent source of confusion, and led to some fraught debates. While most people would agree grocery stores and pharmacies provide vital services, there’s significantly less consensus when it comes to pawnshops, gun dealers and marijuana dispensaries.

In Delaware, florists can still deliver bouquets. In Pennsylvania, medical marijuana dispensaries are OK but liquor stores aren’t. And in Arizona, golf courses can stay open, too — they’re essential businesses.

When you are poor—and when keeping yourself, your family, and your home clean is a matter of urgency—a laundromat is not a dispensable business. I live in Pennsylvania… Astonishingly, laundromats were on the shutdown list, at least at first. This was yet another reminder of how the coronavirus pandemic is widening the divide between the haves and have-nots.

How Is the Chasidic World Portrayed In Netflix’s “Unorthodox?”

Shira Haas of “Shtisel” fame stars in “Unorthodox,” a new Netflix series about a woman from a Chasidic community in Brooklyn who runs away to Berlin. More at Vox.

… in today’s climate, any portrayal of ultra-orthodox Jews will have some people nervous, and rightly so. And while it’s unlikely that “Unorthodox” will have anyone wanting to become a very strictly observant Jew, it’s clear that great care was taken in the making of this series…

Haas thinks that the story may prompt some people “to question the world they live in and find the power to use their voice to do something else,” she said. “Other people will watch the show and see a community that they don’t know–or thought were very different–and see that they’re real human beings with desires and dreams, and have more empathy for them.”

There’s an otherworldliness to “Unorthodox…” the scenes among the Hasidim are essentially period pieces, meticulously designed and costumed. There’s a sense, which Esty must feel, that the series takes places simultaneously in the past and the future.

Today’s Hot Issues

Did Benny Gantz Sell Out? Where Is Joe? How Can We Help the Elderly During a Pandemic? Who Decides What’s Essential and What’s Superfluous? How Is the Chasidic World Portrayed In Netflix’s “Unorthodox?”