Health Ministry: What racism? Most Arab seniors vaccinated

Israel’s success in vaccinating its Arab citizens hasn’t spared the Jewish state from accusations of racism and discriminatory vaccine allocation.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

After a slow start to vaccination in Israel’s Arab community, the Health Ministry announced Monday that nearly 60% of Arab Israeli senior citizens have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Fifty-nine percent of Arab Israelis over the age of 60, alongside another 18% of the general Arab Israel population, have been fully vaccinated.

In January, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited vaccination sites in the Arab municipalities of Tira and Umm El-Fahem to encourage Arab Israelis to get vaccinated.

Israel’s Health Ministry set up more than 80 pop-up clinic-like vaccination sites and 28 mobile vaccination sites in Arab municipalities across the country.

But Israel’s success in vaccinating its Arab citizens hasn’t spared the Jewish State from accusations of racism and discriminatory vaccine allocation.

Although the Oslo Accords state that the Palestinian Authority is responsible for the healthcare of those living in its territory, U.S. lawmakers, including Palestinian-American Rashida Tlaib, slammed Israel for not vaccinating Palestinians.

In an interview with Democracy Now! the Democrat representative from Michigan alleged that Israel is a “racist state” and intentionally blocking vaccinations to Palestinians like her grandmother, who lives in Beit Ur al-Fauqa, a small village near Ramallah.

“They don’t believe that she’s an equal human being that deserves to live, deserves to be able to be protected from this global pandemic,” Tlaib alleged.

“It’s really hard to watch as this apartheid state continues to deny their own neighbors, the people that breathe the same air they breathe, that live in the same communities,” she said.

Tlaib’s remarks came in direct contrast to statements by PA Health Ministry officials in late December, who said that the PA did not ask for vaccines from Israel.

PA officials signed a deal for 4 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine in December and said they would obtain the remainder of the vaccines needed with the help of the World Health Organization.

In January 2020, Israel sent the PA an unspecified number of vaccines for “humanitarian purposes.”

On Monday, KAN news reported that Israel sent the first of four additional humanitarian coronavirus vaccine shipments to the PA.