Israelis get creative with excuses as they try to get past corona closures

“I’m bringing my parents food,” said one couple. Only the pots were empty. 

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Two things Israelis are known for are their desperate wish not to be seen as suckers, and for thinking out of the box. The three-week countrywide closure that began on Friday to cut down the high rate of Covid-19 infections brought both traits to the fore.

Israel Hayom reported on some of the more – and less – imaginative excuses citizens told police officers over this past two-day holiday weekend, when stopped for being away from home.

Among the most popular excuses was going to a funeral, or a pharmacy, even without a prescription or medication in hand. Many had very happy pets in their cars that simply “had to” get to the vet because they were ill.

One man said he was bringing his child to his divorced wife, but when his ID card showed he was still married, he said they had just separated. A somewhat enterprising couple had put pots in their car and showed them to the officer to prove that they were bringing food to their parents – except the pots were empty.

Of course, there was always the old standby: “My wife is having contractions, I’m on the way to the hospital.”

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Jewish minds are not the only creative ones, of course. During the worldwide lockdown six months ago, when most governments ordered citizens to stay home unless they were essential workers or had to go out for food, medicine, or limited exercise, police patrols heard many eyebrow-raising reasons given by people for being outside.

British papers reported several whoppers. One family told officers in a park that they were out hunting virtual creatures called Pokemon, which was a popular game a few years ago. One person said he was scouring hedgerows for wild lettuce. Another said he was taking a beehive out to a field. Two excuses heard for being at the seashore: “I need to paint my beach hut,” and “I am out for health and safety reasons, to check on the sea for fishing tomorrow.” covered a few of the wildest excuses. In Spain, which was hard-hit by the virus, one man on a motorcycle said he was out to buy bread when he was stopped 21 kilometers from home – after having passed five towns on his alleged search. Three young people tried to say they were out delivering newspapers, while having no broadsheets in hand and no proof of being employed by news companies.

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In Italy, which was the first European country to experience extremely high death rates, citizens had to fill out forms saying why they should be allowed outside. One man went to win back his girlfriend, writing one word as his reason for going out: love.