Will the coronavirus outbreak change the world forever?

Internationally, many issues that appeared pressing prior to the pandemic will likely recede in prominence once the world begins its recovery.

A man wearing a protective face mask, following the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), sits at a bus stop in Qom, Iran March 24, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS)
A man wearing a protective face mask, following the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), sits at a bus stop in Qom, Iran March 24, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The coronavirus global pandemic will have a lasting impact upon interpersonal, national, and inter-state dynamics long after it subsides. 
The first area that has, and will continue to be shaken is the interpersonal web of relations among people. After the pandemic dies down, many will experience conflicting drives: After weeks or more in isolation, they will be hungry for company, for meeting and socializing. But they will also be keenly aware of the risk of close contact. A longing for the contact of others will clash with the wariness of being infected. It will be a time of contradictions.
The coming adjustment period may serve as a basis for hope that relationships, from people to states, will be more cordial and based more upon common understandings as a result of the shared, global trauma.
But the most dramatically affected sphere is the economy, of course. So many have lost their sources of income and customer base; particularly small business owners. The recovery period will be lengthy and painful.
Customers and clients of local businesses will be disappointed to discover that places familiar to them will have shuttered. For the businesses that do survive, a general worldwide restart will be required. 
Internationally, many issues that appeared pressing prior to the pandemic will likely recede in prominence once the world begins its recovery.
Israel and annexation
In the Middle East, for example, the issue of Israeli annexation of West Bank territory, which was a highly divisive topic prior to the virus's spread, is now destined to take a back seat. The State of Israel will not be in a position to deal with the annexation issue in the coming six months. Every government ministry will be fully engaged with implementing a coronavirus exit strategy.
All non-coronavirus issues will be pushed aside, including former diplomatic hot topics that occupied the minds and the agendas of politicians and political parties busy in the pre-COVID-19 era.
A change can also be expected in the conduct between governments. The common global fate, an outgrowth of the pandemic, will create a new sense of worldwide identification; not only because of a shared experience, but also because of the mutual assistance that will be required. The experience of tragedies that have rocked countries such as the US, Spain and Italy may well change how international relations are conducted. 
The international system that emerges post COVID-19 will be different from the one that went into pandemic, and attitudes towards several central global issues will also change. One example of this, already apparent, is the global attitude toward Iran.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the main area of international engagement with Iran revolved around its nuclear program. Now, that issue will cede ground to the medical assistance its civilians require in the face of the sheer number of deaths the Islamic Republic has experienced.
The Palestinian conflict
In the Israeli-Palestinian sphere, the fact that there have been no terror attacks during the pandemic is further testament to the idea that armed organizations, and the wider societies in which they operate, are most keenly focused on how to extract themselves from the pandemic situation. No sides to the conflict have a desire to deal with ideological interruptions to those efforts. That trend will dominate Israeli–Palestinian affairs in the months to come.
Major changes in Israel's policy towards the West Bank and Gaza are also likely, due to the fact that health developments in those territories will directly project onto Israel. Israel is close to deciding that it must treat West Bank and Gazan health issues as if they were occurring on Israeli territory, due to their geographic proximity.
A major question stemming from such a development, should it occur, will be how it could impact upon longer-term dynamics in the region. Will Israelis and Palestinians draw closer together when the pandemic passes, or will the region return to its old conflicts and fault lines?
The potential for a new era, characterized by a more humane approach, exists, but it is far from inevitable.
Mossad, Shin Bet, surveillance
In many countries, including Israel, a new and expanded role for security forces to deal with public health threats will dominate the public discourse. The involvement of the Mossad intelligence agency in the purchase of vital medical equipment, especially ventilators, and the role of the Shin Bet intelligence agency in tracking members of society to prevent virus transmission chains, represent a correct and efficient use of these organizations' capabilities. But at the same time, democracies must prevent the emergence of a big brother-style intrusion into the personal sphere by the security apparatus. Such a thing can only occur in the absence of massive civilian oversight.
In Israel, the Knesset's Sub-Committee on Intelligence and Secret Services must receive detailed reports on such activities. These types of steps will not be needed after the pandemic passes, and they must not continue.
The Shin Bet has no desire to track Israeli civilians once the virus fades, and its actions stem strictly from emergency legislation in place for the current period.
The balance Israel has struck in involving its security forces in the response to coronavirus serves as a useful model for the international community. It is fair to assume that a number of European countries will be keen to study the Israeli model as they seek to minimize the crisis's damage. Phone tracking has also occurred in South Korea and other states in southeast Asia.
Looking ahead, the wider question of how the pandemic will affect globalization looms large over all countries. On the one hand, there will be a tendency for each country to act for itself, and to withdraw into their own borders. But human nature dictates that we will move on. Beyond a certain period of time, which can last months, half a year, or a year, the world will begin to return to its old self.
The pandemic is a crisis the likes of which the world has not faced in a century, and though many countries will set up committees of inquiry to find out why they and their healthcare systems were caught unprepared, humanity is destined to return to its old self after the adjustment period ends. And that, on balance, is a good thing.
The writer is a publishing expert at the MirYam Institute (www.MirYamInstitute.Org). He is  former head of the Shin Bet and former minister for Science, Technology and Space.