By World Israel News Staff
In a prime time address, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett bluntly urged unvaccinated Israelis to get inoculated, saying they endanger the country.
Those who don’t get immunized, he warned, would face the choice of paying for their own Covid tests or being cut off from synagogues, cinemas, sporting events and other such gatherings.
“We would like Israel to be an open and safe country. And for that to happen, every Israeli who is eligible to get inoculated, must do so,” Bennett said.
“The Israeli government is investing billions in order to supply vaccines all over the country. And still, about a million Israelis simply refuse to get vaccinated. Anti-vaxxers are putting their health at risk, and the health of those around them. They impede the freedom of all Israelis, endangering our work, our children’s studies and our freedom to celebrate the upcoming holidays with family,” he added.
“If these one million Israelis continue to refuse to get vaccinated, it will force the other eight million to go into lockdown,” Bennett warned.
Before Bennett’s address, the corona cabinet enacted several measures.
It decided that eligible Israelis who don’t vaccinate will have to pay for their own Covid tests as of August 8. Covid tests are currently paid for by public money, except for people who are testing to travel.
Events of 100 or more participants — indoors and outdoors — are now restricted to people with a Green Pass, have recovered from Covid or present a negative test result. Children under 12 will be exempt from the Green Pass requirement.
The United Kingdom, Cyprus, Turkey and Georgia were added to a list of countries Israelis are prohibited to travel to. Those travel restrictions take effect July 29.
The Ministry of Health also announced that as of August 1, Israel’s four health care providers will begin administering the Moderna vaccine to the public. Hebrew reports said that Israel has several hundred thousand doses of Moderna, and expects a shipment of six million more from the Massachusetts-based drug company next year.
Till now, Israelis have been immunized with Pfizer.
In other news, Israel is due to begin the world’s first clinical trials for a Covid vaccine that can be taken orally. Nadav Kidron, CEO of the Jerusalem-based Oramed Pharmaceuticals, hopes the vaccine will be a “game changer.” Because the vaccine does not need to be stored at low temperatures or be administered by medical professionals it could be rapidly distributed in countries that have not yet launched vaccination campaigns.
According to figures released by the Health Ministry, 901 new cases of Covid were diagnosed on Thursday. Overall, Israeli is dealing with 9,742 active cases, of which 72 are serious.
A total of 6,457 Israelis have died of Covid since the pandemic broke out.