Coronavirus and politicans: Rules for thee but not for me

People wear protective masks as they walk around central Jerusalem amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), July 7, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD)

People wear protective masks as they walk around central Jerusalem amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), July 7, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD)

In 1977, then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's housing minister Avraham Ofer committed suicide when implicated in a corruption scandal.
Three months later, Rabin himself quit over the offense of his wife holding a US dollar account in the National Bank of Washington left over from 1973 when Rabin ended his term as ambassador to the United States. The bank account had less than $2,000.
Even just a decade ago, an MK revealed in the Knesset cafeteria that he does not dare hire anyone to clean his apartment, because it is too easy to make a mistake and violate the law.
Since then, ethical standards have apparently dropped dramatically - at least when it comes to laws dealing with the coronavirus.
During the Passover Seder, when citizens were expected to eat with only their nuclear families who live at home, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited his grown son, President Reuven Rivlin hosted his daughter, Yoav Galant was illegally with family and MKs Avigdor Liberman and Nir Barkat were caught with their own violations.
Rivlin issued a well publicized apology, as did Barkat, and none of the MKs lied once their offense was revealed. But none of them resigned in shame, which created an atmosphere of increased permissiveness for Israel's politicians. Last month, two Netanyahu advisers violated quarantine without thinking twice. One of them even did it twice.
It is in that context in which Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel's rule-breaking must be viewed. Gamliel not only spent Yom Kippur with extended family when she was supposed to stay home, she drove 150 kilometers to do it, when average citizens are limited to only one kilometer.
Gamliel not only broke the law, but apparently also evaded Health Ministry investigators and allegedly lied to them. The environmental protection minister proved herself very good at protecting her own environment, but she did not seem to care as much about the air through which she might have spread the coronavirus to the citizens of Tiberias.
If there was a personal example to set, Gamliel did the opposite. In her explanation, she noted that in addition to her job, she is raising young daughters. So are tens of thousands of other Israelis, and it is often not easy for them when there is no school, especially if their spouse works full time.
Over the last few weeks, one of the key reasons given by Likud MKs for legislation limiting demonstrations was that the religious public would see their secular counterparts and respond by crowding their synagogues. After the behavior of Gamliel, Yesh Atid MK Mickey Levy and their rule-breaking predecessors, why would any Israelis feel they need to be the suckers who keep the regulations that are so easy to violate without getting caught?
Out of the 120 MKs, seven currently have COVID-19, a ratio twice as high as the general public.
What that proves is that our elected officials are either less careful, or just think that nowadays, 43 years after Ofer shot himself, they can get away with anything, suffering no real consequences. Follow us on twitter (ajuede.com) or on Instagram (ajuedeman) for details of the global situation presently.

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