Israel to launch ‘happy badge’ program for weddings and large events

“If we do not do this, there will be unauthorized weddings without oversight,” says Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.


With Israel’s wedding season a week away and the rate of COVID-19 infection rising, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett signed off on a program on Thursday that would allow weddings and other celebrations to be held safely in closed places.

The plan will be submitted to the coronavirus cabinet for approval by conference call “as soon as possible” and is to take effect on Wednesday, July 21, according to a joint statement by Bennett, Economy and Industry Minister Orna Barbivay and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz.

According to the plan, entry to events will be allowed for those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, those who have recovered from it and those with negative PCR test results.

The plan involves a “happy badge,” similar to Israel’s “Green Pass.” Cancelled on June 1, the pass was a certificate issued to vaccinated people and those who had recovered and developed antibodies, allowing them to enter hotels, restaurants and event venues. Some researchers have urged that the Green Pass be reinstated.

While the number of participants at events will not be limited, masks will be required except during certain permitted activities (such as eating and drinking).

“We have proven that one can reach better solutions through goodwill and dialogue than by ‘directives,’” said Bennett. “Our goal is to allow weddings and celebrations to be held in event halls. If we do not do this, there will be unauthorized weddings without oversight. Our goal is to define how to hold them in times of pandemic with minimal harm to the events sector and maximum protection for the citizens of Israel,” he added.

Health Minister Horowitz said, “We are doing everything to safeguard public health, with minimal restrictions. The new plan will allow us all to live alongside the coronavirus and continue the activity of the events sector without endangering people attending celebrations.”