In December 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in China. The first case of coronavirus in Israel was diagnosed in late February; thereafter, the virus spread rapidly throughout the country. In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic and, accordingly, the Israeli government announced a state of emergency on March 19 in light of an increase in cases of infection.
As in other parts of the world, Israel implemented various social and behavioural restriction measures in an effort to stop the virus from spreading. In addition to a national lockdown which forced everyone into quarantine and banned them from leaving their homes (except to secure essential supplies), other restrictions included isolating infected people to interrupt the transmission, social distancing and mask-wearing, prohibitions on large-scale gatherings, and the closure of businesses, leisure and hospitality industries, and educational institutions.
An additional restriction is an obligation for anyone returning/coming from abroad (according to whether the country of origin is considered "red" or "green") to self-isolate for a period of 14 days. In an exceptional move and at an estimated cost of hundreds of millions of shekels, the Israeli government decided to fund isolation in designated hotels for those who are unable or don't have the means to self-isolate. The IDF Home Front Command is in charge of the hotel system.
On August 4, 2020, I returned to Israel with my family after a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in the UK. We were sent for a 14-day quarantine at the Dan Panorama Hotel in Tel Aviv, which was mostly populated by new immigrants. The #etnograph-quarantinedan project (Ethnography-Quarantine-Dan), which describes 14 quarantine stories, is a kind of "time capsule" of a unique period in Israel and around the world.