Beyond the Virus
Multidisciplinary and International Perspectives on Inequalities Raised by COVID-19

2: Beyond Authority and Governance in Israel during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Crumbling of Solidarity and the Rise of Social Inequalities

At the beginning of February 2020, the first cases of COVID-19 infection were detected in Israel. As the number of confirmed patients increased, movement and activity restrictions were imposed on the public. While stopping the spread of the virus and almost eradicating the pandemic, the results were short-lived. The reappearance of the pandemic revealed not only the fragility of the human body but also exposed a weakening of solidarity in Israeli society. This chapter describes the weakening of the value of solidarity in Israeli society as it manifested during the pandemic. The authors claim that this phenomenon played an important role in deepening existing social inequalities. It is suggested that while the refusal to carry the costs required to stop the spreading of the pandemic affected the entire population, it had a greater impact on disadvantaged and vulnerable sectors (for example, the elderly, the disabled, low socioeconomic status individuals, women and victims of domestic violence), thus exacerbating social inequalities. The aim of this chapter is to examine the role of the Israeli law governance in responding to the pandemic by looking into and scrutinizing the protocols of meetings of various committees in the Israeli parliament that discussed the public health restrictions.

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