Israel begins vaccinating jailed terrorists

The first 20 prisoners in Israeli jails were vaccinated in a test run, with a widespread program to begin Monday.

By World Israel News Staff

The Israel Prisons Service announced it conducted a small pilot test Sunday giving coronavirus vaccinations to about 20 prisoners in preparation for the official start of the operation to inoculate all prisoners, Walla! News reported.

The prisons service started vaccinating prison guards and staff on Friday and the operation to give shots to all prisoners will begin Monday once all staff have received the first of their two shots of the Pfizer vaccine.

The vaccination of prisoners, including convicted Palestinian terrorists, comes after Internal Security Minister Amir Ohana was overruled by the Attorney General who said that Ohana did not have the authority to bar prisoners from getting the shots until after all other Israelis received a dose.

Health Ministry officials had warned of outbreaks and called for prisoners to also be vaccinated, but Ohana conditioned the inmates’ vaccination on completing the prison staff’s vaccinations first, the report said.

Several human rights organizations had petitioned the Supreme Court against Ohana’s decision. They also criticized the decision as late in coming as corona cases has risen in jails.

“The state has failed in its duty to maintain the health of the people it holds in prisons, and has endangered their health and lives by not acting immediately against the whim of the Homeland Security Minister, who lacks a professional, ethical and moral basis,” Physicians for Human Rights said in a statement, calling on the prison service to vaccinate the prison population.

Ohana fired back, saying there is “a lot of disinformation and false news written by political and media sources about my position regarding the inmates’ vaccines.”

“My position was, is and remains that first you vaccinate the prison staff because the staff are the ones going in and out of the prisons and not the prisoners, and therefore the infection level among them is higher,” Ohana told Channel 12 news.

The Physicians for Human Rights Israeli branch was in the news recently for calling on Israel to vaccinate Palestinians under the authority of the Palestinian Authority, arguing it had a “a legal and moral duty” to do so even though the PA is a separate entity responsible for those living under its jurisdiction.