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Zev Chafets

Israel’s Rising Covid Cases Aren’t So Scary This Time

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is betting that Covid booster shots will provide adequate immunity from serious illness. 

A boost to his reputation. 

A boost to his reputation. 

Photographer: Abir Sultan/AFP via Getty Images

Israel has been the world’s laboratory during much of the Covid era. It was the first country to achieve mass inoculations, first to add a booster to the two-shot regimen of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine, and first to broaden inoculation to children who are 12 and over. By the start of the summer, it appeared to be on the way to becoming the first country to achieve herd immunity.

And yet Israel now has the world’s highest rolling weekly average of new Covid cases. That’s been something of a shock and raises the question of whether the country’s pandemic plan has worked. While the news may look grim, and the government has been scrambling to respond, the reality is more prosaic: Israel hasn’t defeated the virus, but it has probably redefined what success against the virus looks like. It’s a messy reality, but not an intolerable one.