Facing a coronavirus crisis, Israel calls in the army

Over a three-decade military career, Israeli Major General Ori Gordin has led commando raids, fought in wars and even earned a degree at Harvard. But he has never seen anything quite like his latest mission.

As head of the Israeli army’s Home Front Command, Gordin is now overseeing the military’s coronavirus “task force”, formed last month to bring one of the developed world’s worst outbreaks under control.

Its main responsibility is taking the lead in contact tracing and breaking chains of infection.

“This is a operation on a different scale,” Gordin told The Associated Press, speaking in his first interview since taking over the Home Front Command in May.

Israel appeared to be a model of crisis management last spring, when the coronavirus first arrived. Authorities quickly sealed the borders and imposed tough lockdown measures, bringing the number of new infections down to just a handful each day in May.

Facing a coronavirus crisis, Israel calls in the army