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“Oh what a circus, oh what a show’’

The above are the opening lines from the second song, taken from the musical Evita about the life of Eva Perón.

The show's music is by Andrew Lloyd Webber’with lyrics by Tim Rice

For those not familiar with the song, this clip will help refresh your memory:

The other evening, during his TV address, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, implied that the current situation in Israel, vis a vie, COVID19, and the subsequent economic turndown, was better than many countries. And, while this may be true or partially true, it is of little or no comfort to those citizens of Israel who are in dire financial stress. That they are better off than say the people of the UK, France or Spain or elsewhere, does not put food on the table.

While listening to Netanyahu, the words from Evita “Oh what a circus, oh what a show’’ were ringing in my ears.

OK, Netanyahu pulled off a coup and together with Trump and his gang, secured what would be under normal circumstances, a reason to perhaps dance in the streets. (Maybe we will one day when some form of normalization agreement is reached with our near neighbours.)

While this is a feather in his cap and will no doubt give Netanyahu a much converted Noble Peace Prize, right now it does zero for the vast majority of the people of Israel, who have one concern and one concern only; COVID19.

The country is in a mess, it’s rather like a ship whose rudder is partially disabled and the ship goes around and around in circles.

President Rivlin touched on this in his recent address, apologizing on behalf of the government, and yet, not a word of apology from Netanyahu, only a recap of his achievements.

So yes, I say, what a circus we have become. I have no interest in comparing Israel to other countries, for better or worse. My sole concern is Israel.

Two headlines caught my eye which in many ways sums up the mess Israel is in.

‘’200 protest lockdown on Tel Aviv beach, but roads stay clear as closure holds’’

‘’Using loophole in regulations to visit the shoreline, demonstrators protest against national closure, PM; restrictions appear generally observed as Jews celebrate Rosh Hashanah’’

The article, and the quotes included, demonstrate the lack of thought and vision given to the current lockdown and what happens in three weeks.

Diana Gelman from the Tel Aviv suburb of Givatayim told the newspaper she was disappointed not to have been stopped on her way to the beach. "I really hoped to see a policeman and say I was on my way to a demonstration,” she said, adding that she is a regular participant in the weekly protests against Netanyahu. “The closure is mainly political, I have no confidence in the government. They are trying to deprive me and the young people of our future.”


Protestor Keren Hachmon said that although she was in favor of the agreements Israel signed with the UAE and Bahrain this week, Netanyahu should be prioritizing the pandemic and economic crisis.

“There is no exit plan for the lockdown, there are no plans for winter, and there does not seem to be anyone running the country. I am in favor of the peace agreements signed, but should they be keeping the prime minister busy?” she said.

The other headline that has left me both laughing and crying is this: ‘’An airline that’s been closed for 6 months will now be controlled by a 27-year-old’’

When the going gets tough, stop, and start over.

That’s exactly what El Al, the flag carrier of Israel, is doing. Since March, the airline has effectively ceased operations. The carrier suspended most commercial flights due to the Israeli border closure and has only operated a handful of repatriation, charter, and cargo flights since.

Even before the shutdown, El Al was bleeding cash, having recently invested in a slew of new Dreamliner jets and burdened by a high-cost labor structure.

So, we now that the basic facts of the story are correct. Poor management coupled with high labor costs, open sky competition, inferior inflight service, high-prices, non-Shabbat/Jewish holiday flights; the list goes on and on, and of course our dear friend COVID19.

But here is the bummer. Although Eli Rozenberg, the 27-year-old Jerusalem yeshiva student, who is an Israeli citizen, holds the controlling interest in EL AL, it’’s his father, New York-based Kenny Rozenberg, who is not an Israeli citizen, that pulls the strings.

It gets better. According to various media reports, Rosenberg senior, who by all accounts sails close to the wind in many of his financial/business dealings, is the CEO of the nursing home chain, Centers Health Care, was told to buy EL AL by his rabbi.

You would think that the government would be concerned about who controls Israel’s national airline, it appears not to be.

Should EL AL restart commercial operations in the future, will see segregated seating on their aircraft; men at the front, women at the back?

Benjamin Netanyahu and his government's overriding mission is the control and eradication of COVID19 in Israel and the bolstering of the economy, not by way of ‘popular’’ throwaways, but by serious and sustained long term planning.

So yes, I say, what a mess we are in, and there appears to be no exit plan. Truly, “Oh what a circus, oh what a show’’


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