Op-eds

Prof Schoub in national demand

  • AboveBoardShaunZagnoev (3)
This week, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced that a Ministerial Advisory Committee has been created to focus on coronavirus vaccine development.
by SHAUN ZAGNOEV | Sep 17, 2020

This body will advise the health department and government on vaccine development and rollout, and keep them kept abreast of all critical developments. We were gratified to learn that Professor Barry Schoub has been appointed to chair this new committee. Schoub has been at the very forefront of those medical experts who have helped the Jewish community get through these unprecedented, difficult, and stressful times. From the very moment that the pandemic reached our shores until today, he has unhesitatingly placed his globally-recognised skills, expertise, and experience in the field of communicable diseases at the community’s disposal.

Also rendering particularly outstanding service over this period has been Netcare Chief Executive Dr Richard Friedland. He and Schoub have devoted innumerable hours to advising and educating people about the virus, participating in multiple communal leadership meetings, webinars, media presentations, and one-on-one engagements. Friedland further took a personal interest in those community members who contracted the virus, and on a practical level, did all he could to assist them, in spite of the formidable demands made on him with the public and private-health systems under such enormous pressure. We are indebted to these two individuals, as indeed we are to all the other health professionals in our community whose ready assistance has done so much to help the Jewish leadership negotiate these exceptionally challenging times.

Bahrain breakthrough

Within a month of the United Arab Emirates becoming the third Middle Eastern country to normalise relations with Israel, a second Gulf State, Bahrain, has followed suit. On Tuesday, the United States-brokered agreements between the three countries were confirmed in an historic signing ceremony at the White House. It’s another major step forward in terms of Israel’s acceptance in the region, and creates many opportunities for future co-operation. Once again, die-hard anti-Israel voices, led as usual by Iran, deplored this latest breach in the diplomatic wall that the Arab-speaking world has maintained against the Jewish state since its inception. Increasingly, the tide of history appears to be against them.

On the threshold of the Jewish New Year, we hope that this breakthrough will help usher in a positive new era. On that note, I take this opportunity to wish you all a ktiva ve chatima tova. May we all be inscribed and sealed with a year of success, happiness, peace, and good health. Now that lockdown conditions have been eased, we will thankfully be able to celebrate yom tov in our shuls at last. That being said, things are far from being completely back to normal, so I urge everyone to abide strictly by the regulations that are in place to minimise the risk of infection.

Finally, congratulations to our newly Cape chairperson Tzvi Brivik, vice-chairpersons Glen Heneck and Adrienne Jacobson, and treasurer Lester Hoffman. I wish them and the Cape Council all success in their term of office, and look forward to working with them going forward.

  • Listen to Charisse Zeifert on Jewish Board Talk, 101.9 ChaiFM, every Friday from 12:00 to 13:00.

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