Jerusalem ICU doctor: ‘We are now in a battle for survival’

In Facebook post, senior doctor slams Israeli public, saying their failure to do the minimum against coronavirus is killing people.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

The head of the intensive care unit at a major hospital that shot past its capacity Monday attacked the Israeli public for not following health instructions, thereby helping the spread of the coronavirus and driving up the death toll.

Professor Sharon Einav, director of the ICU at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, posted a long diatribe on her Facebook page Sunday venting her frustration after Israel’s infection rate became the worst in the world. On Monday, while Shaare Zedek was at 82 percent capacity, its coronavirus ward was at 123 percent occupancy, meaning patients were on beds in the aisles.

Einav warned the general public to expect dire consequences from the skyrocketing spread of the coronavirus in Israel that has seen a sharp spike in the death toll and in the number of patients hospitalized in serious condition.

“I can no longer remain silent,” Einav wrote, referring to the biblical story of Abraham sacrificing his son Isaac that was recited Sunday during Rosh Hashana Jewish New Year prayers.

“The binding is a story of sacrifice, and in this country there are currently two groups of people that you have all raised on the altar, but unlike Abraham, you do not remove the knife from their throats,” Einav wrote.

She slammed the younger generation for ignoring health guidelines after news reports showed several hundred people gathering on the beach in Tel Aviv over the weekend, most of them not wearing masks, in defiance of government regulations prohibiting large groups.

“We owe this second period of grace to all the idiots who knew better,” she posted on Facebook last week as Israel headed into a second national lockdown.

“People refuse to cooperate in very simple things, and it can cost lives,” Einav said, adding that older people were staying home out of fear of catching the virus from younger people who refuse to wear masks or maintain social distancing.

“They are afraid of you, the young,” she said, slamming those who glibly passed off the pandemic as Darwin’s “survival of the fittest.”

Israel’s previous lockdown in the spring proved successful, winning the country praise for its handling of the virus.

However, after the infection rate reached near zero, the government rapidly opened the economy, and once infection rates started climbing, it failed to take any substantive steps until last week. By then, however, Israel had shot up to the highest per-capita infection rate in the world, and global news reports now use Israel as an example of when things go wrong.

“What is really more important – responsibility towards those weaker than you or spending time in a cafe?” Einav asked.

Einav compared the numbers to those who fell in Israel’s wars, noting that 660 people died in first Lebanon war, 200 in the second Lebanon war, and about 2,700 people in the Yom Kippur War. The death toll from the coronavirus pandemic hit 1,260 by Monday afternoon.

“There are currently more mourning families in the country than the number of mourning families due to the two Lebanon wars combined, and we are on our way to Yom Kippur,” Einav said, as health experts predicted up to 2,000 additional deaths by November.

Einav also warned that more and more doctors and medical staff are getting sick or forced into quarantine after being exposed.

“What I and my friends on the front lines do get is contempt from you … Every hour, every day. Contempt for the value of life. Contempt for others,” she said. “Medical teams beg you to listen to them…

“This is a war – do not be mistaken in thinking otherwise,” Einav said. “This whole country is a victim.”