Caroline Glick: The Impact of COVID-19 on the Middle East

Caroline Glick, Israeli-American Author and Columnist and Senior Fellow with the Center for Security Policy, joins Secure Freedom Radio to describe how coronavirus is impacting Israel and its neighbors.

“I think that there are a couple different ways we have to look at this. In the immediate sense, we are in distress just like every other place in the world. In a country with 9 million people, 8,700 are ill with the virus. We have a very low fatality rate right now but we also have a very fast infection rate among certain population groups that were slow to respond and that live in crowded areas. The entire country has basically been on lockdown for nearly 3.5 weeks. We went from a very low unemployment rate with 30,000 unemployed to over a million unemployed in over two weeks. So, we are facing a significant challenge now. We are going into this situation in a better position than most countries, certainly every other country in our region, since we have 60% debt to GDP ratio, we have an A-minus credit rating, and we have very a robust population that is very used to emergency situations and disciplined in terms of what needs to be done in order to pass this. We also have social solidarity in Israel despite our political cleavages, an excellent healthcare system and a gifted high-tech sector. We hopefully do have sufficient industrial capacity after a certain amount of lag time in order to fill up some of the shortages in respirators and masks. We’ve been doing a lot of things with 3D printers to make protective gear and now they’re working on 3D printers to use for respirators. So, in that sense, the immediate sense, we have a very mixed situation. Relative to every other country in the Middle East, Israel went into this pandemic in a healthy way. Lebanon, our neighbor to the north, defaulted on its loans and went bankrupt effectively on March 7, Iran’s economy also was horrible at the onset of the pandemic and Egypt has been teetering on the brink of collapse economically the last decade. Syria and Iraq are failed states with little infrastructure to speak of. So, Israel dealt with the onset of this virus in a healthy way, but we are going to be facing, I fear, major social and economic issues in the weeks ahead.”

Listen to the full interview here