Social Isolation? No! Spatial Separation: Yes! 

By Shlomo Maital


My wife is a school psychologist, with long experience, including times of emergency, when Israel was under attack.

   She has an important observation regarding the widespread calls for “social isolation”, to maintain distance among us and slow the spread of the coronavirus.

   I want to share her observation.

     Words matter. The last thing we need in times of crisis is “social isolation”. This is especially true of my country Israel. As Judy Meltz notes in today’s Haaretz daily, “In a country where personal space is virtually nonexistent, many Israelis are struggling”. We are a touchy-feely nation, in good times we fight like hell, and in hard times we pull together and help one another.

     So how in the world are we to manage ‘social isolation’?

     Answer:   Words matter!   This is NOT social isolation. We are still in close touch by social media. Our own family Whatsapp is feverishly active.

      What we are called to do is simply spatial separation.   Separate one another in space. That does not mean isolating one another socially.

       Look, words do matter. I hope our leaders will embrace this term, spatial separation, which is precisely what it is, and abandon ‘social isolation’.   Let’s support one another constantly, despite being physically separated.

       Thank you, Sharona.