“I’ll explain the Israeli minister’s video on coronavirus and the elderly”


“Jewish culture, not only because of the tragedies of a recent past, is particularly sensitive to the problem of the sudden loss of parents and grandparents, deprived not only of a funeral but also of a grave”. David Meghnagi, professor of clinical psychology at the Roma 3 University (where he designed and directs the II level international Master’s degree in didactics of the Shoah, the only one in Italy and the first in Europe), in conversation with Agi he discusses the concept of solidarity between generations contained in the video message of the Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett.

In the anti-coronavirus emergency, Bennet has just invited to isolate the elderly from the young (“nothing is more lethal than a hug between grandmother and granddaughter”) suggesting to limit themselves to messages via social networks and to the shopping left outside their doors, sure also that the elderly will not have to remain isolated forever but will be able to go out when the other generations have developed the so-called flock immunity “Good luck, take care of your grandparents and do not go close to him”, concludes his video message.

Elders at home and boys out to protect them, will this really be the case in Israel?

Bennett’s statement does not constitute a government decision. It is part of a discussion that is developing in a country particularly attentive to the relationship between generations, where grandparents are loved and respected, and children are the only true treasure that parents have. Personally, I believe that the real emergency right now is to tell young people and the elderly not to leave the house, except for recognized needs. But that’s not enough. It is also necessary to know how to attack the virus, looking for it with the technologies we have, making sure that people are responsible for an action aimed at protecting everyone. Proceeding not only with quarantine and with the suspension of unnecessary activities, but also with swabs and chasing contagions. In Israel it is being done, with a specific model located halfway between East and West.

What Israel must do is to continue what it is already doing: reinforce quarantine measures, raise awareness and attack the virus more directly, with the awareness that the rule of law is a value in itself, to be preserved and protected. For all this there must be a close relationship between the action of the institutions responsible for this intervention and the supervision of Parliament and the Court.

The Israeli Defense Minister aimed to empower young people, in Italy the boys took a while to understand …

Italy had to face first (and therefore was not prepared) the spread of the virus in Europe, and at the beginning of the contagion the media unwittingly contributed to spreading a message that risked favoring for heterogenesis of the ends, the idea that not being personally touched, young people could do as they please. But now another error persists …


That of presenting, especially to young people, the quarantine as “a sacrifice”, and not instead as a normal act of responsibility and care for people who love each other

There is no denying that staying at home is a great sacrifice especially for children …

Personally, instead of the term sacrifice, I would have preferred to use phrases like “Thanks for what you do for all of us, for the protection you give to your loved ones and your families”. Valuing the positive aspects of behavior is always better. Losing parents (in Italy they are on average older than in the rest of Europe) or grandparents is not a walk, but an immeasurable loss, it is always necessary to focus on what binds the generations together

How much can the link between generations affect the social battle against Coronavirus?

“A three-pronged thread does not break easily,” said the Qoelet. The three prongs are the three generations of children, parents, grandparents, who need each other and who mutually reinforce each other. In Israel this bond is strong. You can see it in the habit, even among the most secular and detached from tradition, of celebrating Shabbath by eating the evening meal together. People strengthen important ties, which make it possible to face the challenges of the future. In Italy, where generational solidarity is also strongly present, with parents helping children in economic difficulty, the narration of the coronavirus emergency must avoid putting generations in competition with each other.

The risk that older generations run, must be called as an act of responsibility. This is the message we need to get through. The biblical canon closes with the hope that “The heart of the fathers will approach that of the children that of the children to that of the fathers”, an important and profound concept with which every generation, indeed every human being must confront in order to be able to imagine and dream a better future. In a more destructive key, we must introduce the idea that being useful to others is something can be a great joy.


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