Netanyahu and Trump - Responsible Leadership Vs. Lack of Leadership

Netanyahu and Trump
Responsible Leadership
Lack of Leadership

© David Burton 2021

Iresponsible and Responsible Leadership

     As we start the new year, 2021, we can look at what two leaders, President Donald Trump and Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, have been doing to protect the citizens of their two countries, the United States of America and the State of Israel, during the worsening Covid-19 pandemic.

President Trump – A Lack of Leadership

     President Trump promised America that 100 million doses of the anti-Corona vaccine would be administered by the end of 2020. In fact, only about 10% of that number of Americans were vaccinated. This happened while President Trump was busy visiting his Mar-a-Lago private club in Palm Beach and fantasizing that he had won reelection. The fact, obvious to all but the blind, the brain dead and Donald Trump, was that he had decisively lost the election to Joseph Biden. All the while, the Covid-19 epidemic was growing worse and tens of thousands of Americans were dying.

     As a result of President Trumps inattention and gross incompetence, in the first week of 2021, the “US reported more Covid-19 cases and deaths in the last week than any previous seven days during the pandemic . . .
     “And more than 4,080 US coronavirus deaths were reported on Thursday alone - the most ever reported in a single day during the pandemic and the first time the daily tally rose above 4,000, Johns Hopkins University (JHU) data showed.
     “In other words, even though the US is working to distribute vital Covid-19 vaccines - a process criticized as being too slow - the pandemic generally isn't showing signs of slowing down, and the virus is advancing with alarming speed in some areas . . .” (Ref. 1) As was said of another leader who apparently cared little for the welfare of the people he was supposed to protect: “Nero fiddled while Rome burned!” In Donald Trump’s case, we might rightly say: “Trump twittered while Americans died!”

     In the words of one American letter-writer: “The American response to COVID-19 has been one of incompetence and inefficiency at almost every level. Thankfully our front line health care workers have not failed us like our politicians have. There were not enough protective gear (PPEs) for these workers and many died because of this. Our president did not take the pandemic seriously hoping it would just disappear like a miracle. He touted unproven drugs and even suggested ingesting bleach as a cure. [Emphasis mine] The one thing that deserves credit is getting vaccines out at warp speed. Unfortunately, we are failing to distribute those vaccines in an organized and timely manner. Contrast our vaccination rate with Israel that has vaccinated more than 11% of her population in less than two weeks and is on track to have everyone vaccinated before spring. Hopefully, with new leadership we can turn it around here. We have the money and resources. What we need is competency.” (Ref. 2)

     On the last day of 2020, CNBC reported (Ref. 3) that:

  • December was the deadliest month for America during the pandemic. Yet President Donald Trump barely uttered a word about Covid-19's tragic toll.
  • Instead, the president spent the month obsessing over unfounded claims of a stolen election and lashing out at members of his own party.
  • And, on Thursday, the last day of the month and the year, Trump tweeted a video in which he boasted about his administration’s response to the pandemic.
Prime Minister Netanyahu – Responsible Leadership

     In marked contrast, despite continuing political, judicial and defense problems, Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu, was overseeing a massive inoculation program and procuring enough anti-Corona vaccine to inoculate every single citizen of Israel.

     “Israelis are test subjects in the world’s first attempt to inoculate an entire country against the coronavirus . . .
     "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced last week that his personal connection with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla helped Israel obtain millions of highly sought-after doses of coronavirus vaccine in return for sharing data with Pfizer. . . {As a result,} Israel would be able to vaccinate its entire adult population within the coming few months. [Emphasis mine]
     “Under the deal, Israel will receive up to 500,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine over the next 10 weeks with more than 10 million doses in total by the middle of March – enough to vaccinate all of its 9.3 million citizens over the age of 16 . . . [Emphasis mine]
     “In return, Israel will collect data for Pfizer including the results of the vaccinations, side effects, efficacy, and the amount of time it takes to develop antibodies to fight the virus. . .
     “The project amounts to a giant research project with Israel as the laboratory and its adult citizens being the guinea pigs.
      - - -
     “Given the massive size of the project and its expected attractiveness to both drug companies and WHO, Netanyahu himself made the pitch along with some leading Israeli medical experts.
      - - -
     “In the end, Pfizer was impressed with Israel’s health system and the way government, HMOs, laboratories and the IDF cooperated in managing the crisis, as well as the computerized systems that were set up to track data.
     “The deal was apparently closed after Pfizer saw the success of Israel’s distribution of the vaccines, with up to 180,000 people getting vaccinated in one day while other countries . . . struggled to overcome bureaucratic hurdles and moved slowly.
     “A senior WHO official told his counterpart in Israel’s Ministry of Health that they were astonished by the pace of distribution and the ability to channel the vaccinations correctly . . .” (Ref. 4)

     Let’s not forget that in addition to being prime Minister, Netanyahu is also a politician and the head of his political party. But, political “machinations are hardly the only motivation for getting the country vaccinated. . . Netanyahu knew that his support was tenuous when he committed early to vaccine contracts, at high cost, and now that it’s election season in Israel (again), perhaps nothing could do more to shore up his sagging support than a successful vaccination drive earning the world’s esteem and allowing the country to safely get back to normal. The prime minister was the first Israeli to be vaccinated, and he has posed with a wide array of constituents in vaccine photos - including with an Arab Israeli he said was the 1 millionth person vaccinated in the country.
     Exactly how many Israelis will be vaccinated before March 23, the date of the upcoming election, remains to be seen. But the current pace of vaccinations suggests that most Israelis will have gotten the concrete benefit of vaccination by then, even as other aspects of Netanyahu’s leadership remain ripe for criticism. (Remember that massive protests against him have taken place whenever there is not a lockdown, and sometimes when there is.)” (Ref. 5)

Israel and America Responses to Coronavirus Surge

     “Early on in the pandemic, Israel was lauded for its tough lockdown measures and low coronavirus rates, only to become a cautionary tale over the summer, when case numbers skyrocketed.
     “Now Israel is getting praised again, this time for its vaccination campaign. On Jan. 1, Israel announced that it had vaccinated more than 1 million citizens — over 10% of its population of nearly 9 million, and far and away the highest vaccination rate worldwide. The country is vaccinating 150,000 people every day and hopes to vaccinate half of its population by March. [Emphasis mine] (Ref. 5)

     So how has the United States - led by President Donald Trump - been doing in its deadly fight against Covid-19? “In September, President Trump promised 100 million vaccinations by the end of the year. As a country, we have only 40 million doses, and had aimed, according to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, to vaccinate 20 million by year-end. That’s bad enough. But {by year’s end} we have administered only 2 million of those — barely 10 percent of the goal. At this rate, achieving sufficient vaccination to reach herd immunity and bring the pandemic to a close in the U.S. will take about seven years. [Emphasis mine] In Israel, they are vaccinating about one percent of the population each day, meaning the full program of population-wide vaccination will be done by this March.” (Ref. 6)

     “In the final days of 2020, the United States saw coronavirus deaths spike, cases surge to staggering levels, hospitals strained and the rollout of desperately needed vaccines fall short of expectations.
     “December was the deadliest month for America during the pandemic. Yet President Donald Trump barely uttered a word about Covid-19's tragic toll.
     “Instead, the president spent the month obsessing over unfounded claims of a stolen election, delaying relief legislation before signing it, weighing in on cable news broadcasts and lashing out at members of his own party.
     “And, on Thursday, the last day of the month and the year, Trump tweeted a video in which he boasted about his administration’s response to the pandemic.
     “During December, the country plunged into what would become its toughest battle against Covid-19, even as vaccines started to go out. The nation reported more than 6.1 million new infections and more than 74,140 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
     “The latest totals make December the deadliest month of the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States, surpassing April, when more than 60,738 Americans lost their lives to the coronavirus.
     “Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, at least 342,414 Americans have died because of the disease, which Trump has repeatedly pledged on 40 different occasions would go away.
     “In a recorded message released Thursday, Trump took the lion’s share of the credit for the unprecedented speed in the development of vaccines calling the feat a ‘medical miracle.’
     “ ‘Thanks to Operation Warp Speed we developed a vaccine in just nine months, we’ve already begun a nationwide vaccination program, and we’re sending the vaccine all over the world. The world will benefit we’ll benefit, and everybody’s calling to thank me,’ the president said.” (Ref. 3)

Trump and Netanyahu - Lack of Leadership Vs. Responsible Leadership

     While America continues to struggle in its battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, Israel is proving to be a world leader in the ongoing war against this modern plague. The reasons for this disparity are numerous, but the leading reasons are: lack of leadership in the United States and responsible leadership in Israel. Donald Trump has proven, time-and-time-again that he has been: incompetent, ignorant of the facts, uncaring, unwilling to accept legitimate scientific and medical advice, or all of these. As a result, millions of Americans are suffering and hundreds of thousands are dying.

     Like his continued touting of the fantasy about the 2020 election reults being incorrect, Trump also spouted the falsehood that the federal data on COVID-19 cases and deaths in the United States was wrong and the actual numbers were much lower than officially reported.

     Two top U.S. health officials quickly disputed the false claim by the President.

     “ 'The deaths are real deaths,' Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on ABC News’ This Week, adding that jam-packed hospitals and stressed-out health care workers are 'not fake. That’s real.'
     "Fauci and U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, who appeared on CNN’s State of the Union, defended the accuracy of coronavirus data published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after Trump attacked the agency’s tabulation methods.
      - - -
     "Trump . . . who leaves office on Jan. 20 . . . has frequently downplayed the severity of the pandemic. He has also scorned and ignored federal recommendations for containing the spread."
(Ref. 7)

     Instead of facing up to the undeniable facts and to his responsibility as president, Donald Trump chose, once more, to pay no attention to reality, ignore his most knowlegable advisors, deliberately spread lies and downplay the seriousness of the very real threat facing all Americans.

     In contrast, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu demonstrated the courage to make the hard decisions. He has taken the advice of his scientific and medical experts and instituted the unpopular - but necessary - steps to fight the pandemic. As a consequence, Israel is leading the entire world in fighting this worldwide plague and is well on the way to becoming the first nation to inoculate its entire population against the Coronavirus.

     On January 7, 2021, Israel became the first country in the world to complete the first phase of vaccinations for all residents and employees of elder-care and assisted-living/retirement facilities.
     Israel's Covid-19 vaccination drive for the elderly in residential facilities took about 10 days to reach some 150,000 residents and employees.
     While any Israeli over 60 years old can get the vaccine at his or her health clinic, residents of elder facilities did not have to leave home. Specially trained emergency medical technicians came to the facilities.
     Israel has by far given the most Covid-19 vaccines per capita of any country. As of January 7, nearly 20 out of 100 Israelis had received their first dose.
     Prime Minister Netanyahu announced his agreement with Pfizer for “additional huge shipments of vaccines for the State of Israel, which will enable us to vaccinate all citizens of Israel over 16 within two months, by the end of March at the latest.” (Ref. 8)

     Two leaders – one showing a total lack of leadership qualities, the other clearly demonstrating the qualities of responsible leadership. Two very different outcomes – one resulting in thousands of unnecessary deaths and the other in the saving of thousands of lives.

  1. One-week US Covid-19 case and death totals are higher than ever, Christina Maxouris, Jason Hanna and
    Theresa Waldrop, CNN, 9 January 2021.
  2. Letter | U.S. COVID-19 response has been incompetent, Gil Stein, Santa Cruz Sentinel, 5 January 2021.
  3. Trump boasts about his Covid response after largely ignoring crisis during deadliest month yet, Amanda Macias, CNBC, 31 December 2020.
  4. Reason Israel got so many vaccines revealed: It agreed to hand Pfizer all its data, Paul Shindman,
    World Israel News, 10 January 2021.
  5. 5 things to know about Israel’s attention-grabbing COVID-19 vaccination spree, Philissa Cramer and Ben Sales, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 5 January 2021.
  6. America’s Vaccine Rollout Is Already a Disaster, David Wallace-Wells, Intelligencer, 30 December 2020.
  7. 'That's real:' Fauci rejects Trump claim that U.S. coronavirus deaths overcounted, David Wallace-Wells,
    New Hampshire Union Leader, 3 January 2021.
  8. Israel Vaccinated All Seniors in Elder-Care Facilities, Abigail Klein Leichman, United With Israel, 11 January 2021.

  15 January 2021 {Article 456; Suggestions?_56}    
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