The green pass for vaccination allows us to participate in concerts, restaurants and sporting events. However, Israel’s real-time experiments in life after the blockade have left many questions unanswered.
Tel Aviv-As the lights dimmed and the music started, there was an excitement in the crowd. The people in the rows above me were filled with joy, as if at a Middle Eastern wedding.
I came to the Bloomfield Football Stadium in Tel Aviv to participate in a concert organized by Dikla, an Israeli singer of Iraqi and Egyptian descent, which was praised by the city as a celebration of the “return of culture.”
The audience was confined to seats far away from the social distance, dancing on the spot, and singing with masks. But the atmosphere was very lively, which confirmed my identity as a member of the new privileged class: fully vaccinated.
Our group includes more than half of Israel’s 9 million people, and we are experiencing the future after the pandemic.
The membership of this course has been certified by the Green Pass. You can download the file and take it with you. It includes a kind of GIF, a green moving animation, which looks like a happy family full of vaccines.
Israel’s vaccination program was very rapid and successful.
In recent weeks, the number of new Covid-19 cases has dropped sharply, from a daily peak of 10,000 cases in January to a few hundred cases in late March. The economy has almost completely reopened. Just as Israel has become a real-world laboratory for vaccine efficacy, it has now become a test case for society after the lockdown and vaccination.
The green pass is your admission ticket.
Those with green passes can dine indoors in restaurants, stay in hotels, and participate in thousands of indoor and outdoor cultural, sports and religious gatherings. We can go to the gym, swimming pool and theater. We can get married in the wedding hall.
We celebrated the Passover and Easter spring break with family and friends.
Local newspapers and television stations are providing summer vaccination advertisements for countries that are preparing to receive vaccination (including Greece, Georgia and the Seychelles) and provide them with vaccines.
When you book a table in a restaurant, they will ask: Do you have a green pass? Have you been vaccinated?
The system is imperfect, and beyond the Green Pass, the “system” may be exaggerated in many ways. The enforcement situation is different. There are disturbing questions about those who have not been vaccinated, and the real-time debate (some in court) surrounding the rules and responsibilities of returning to normal.
Moreover, there is no guarantee that this is indeed the beginning of the future after the pandemic. Any number of factors (such as the delay in vaccine production, the emergence of new anti-vaccine vaccines, and the large number of unvaccinated Israelis) can make the carpet tattered.
The New World also emphasizes inequality, and societies have more or less received vaccines.
Friends and colleagues in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have not yet been vaccinated.
The Palestinian vaccination campaign has just begun, mainly vaccines donated by other countries, in the heated debate about Israel’s legal and moral obligations to the health of the people in its occupied territories. Israel has vaccinated about 100,000 Palestinians working in Israeli or West Bank settlements, but has been criticized for not doing more.
More than 5.2 million Israelis have received at least one dose of Pfizer vaccine. About four million people have not yet been vaccinated, and half of them under the age of 16 are not yet eligible for the vaccine, pending regulatory approval and further testing of children. Thousands of citizens who recovered from Covid were not included in Israel’s vaccination program until recently.
Although Israel has provided an enviable dose of vaccine, as many as one million people still choose not to be vaccinated.
Some opponents opposed the shooting for ideological reasons, while others expressed anxiety and waited to observe the impact of the vaccine on others. They drew little public sympathy, and health officials criticized them for succumbing to what they described as false news spread on social media.
The insistence raises difficult moral and legal issues. Should they also have the right to rejoin the world? Is it ethical to discriminate against them? Or is it fair to force those who have done their best to protect themselves by vaccinating and sharing space with those who choose not to do so?
These problems erupted when another artist, famous singer and composer Achinoam Nini (died under the stage name Noa) announced in an old auditorium in Tel Aviv that he would only perform for Green Pass holders.
A small but opposing group of anti-vaxxers and others accused her of working with discriminatory systems and supporting medical experiments and coercion.
One critic, Reut Sorek, borrowed the term from the Holocaust and wrote: “You are cooperating with selection personnel.” “You are cooperating with medical dictatorship and trampling on individual rights.”
Ms. Nini responded in an enthusiastic Facebook post that vaccinations are for the public good, to strike a balance between public health and personal freedom, social contracts and civic obligations, just like stopping before a red light.
She said in an interview: “We have a problem here.” “The world is paralyzed, people have lost their livelihoods, health and hope. When you put all these things on the scale, start the vaccination! If you really do No, please stay at home.”
In order to solve this problem and cater to the needs of children under the age of 16, the government allows quick tests at venues as an alternative to green passes. However, many business owners who are responsible for ordering and funding test stations find that logistics is impractical.
However, unlike concerts and football matches, going to work is not a luxury for most people.
The teaching assistants of a school for children with special needs in central Israel refused to be vaccinated, or as their employer, the town of Kochav Yair-Tzur Yigal, required a negative Covid test once a week .
With the support of the town council, the school banned her from working.
Assistant teacher Sigal Avishai appealed to the labor court in Tel Aviv. She believes that the parliamentary request “infringes on her privacy” and “has no legal basis”, and according to court documents, the weekly test requirement “is designed to force her to vaccinate against her beliefs.”
Last month, the court ruled against her, stating that her rights must be balanced with the rights of faculty, children and their parents in terms of “life, education and health”, and pointed out the particular vulnerabilities of the children involved.
Gil Ganmo, director of the Civil and Social Rights Department of the Israeli Civil Rights Association, said that in a country where there are many vaccines available, vaccination is not a problem.
He said that in Israel, “anyone who complains can be vaccinated tomorrow morning.”
But in the absence of legislation, employers have been formulating their own policies. At least one college of higher education relies on the jurisprudence of the Labor Court to require all faculty, staff and students to obtain green permits to attend classes on campus.
In another lawsuit filed, the Ministry of Health hopes to distribute the list of unvaccinated persons to local authorities so that, for example, the authorities can identify unvaccinated teachers returning to school and try to persuade them to vaccinate.
Civil rights groups sued to prevent this part of the list from being issued, arguing that this is an invasion of privacy and that medical information cannot be fully protected. The case is being heard by the Supreme Court.
Even if there are rules, enforcement is uneven.
The concert in Tel Aviv was the first and the last time I was asked to show a “Green Pass”. After that, my family spent a weekend in a bed and breakfast in Galilee, and breakfast was provided to all guests (including unvaccinated children) in a closed room. A crowded Italian restaurant in the area made it clear that it did not comply with the regulations and provided us with an indoor seat for a 7-year-old child.
Back in Jerusalem, when I called my favorite restaurant to make an appointment for two people, they served expensive fresh market food from a lively open kitchen and were asked if we all hold green passes. But when we arrived, no one asked to see them.
The table is as comfortable as ever. Strangers are sitting side by side in the bar. Our young waitress was exposed. A small restaurant on the table next door asked how it was to ensure the safety of Covid, then shrugged and continued to eat dessert.
Some restaurant owners and managers complain that the epidemic has left them short of manpower for a long time and cannot expect them to also supervise customers.
Part of the owner of the Jerusalem restaurant, Eran Avishai, said: “It’s embarrassing.” “I have to ask people all kinds of personal questions.” He said that some customers offered excuses and notes. Explained why they were not vaccinated, and “all kinds of things I don’t want to hear.”
However, some restaurants strictly abide by the regulations and even check the green pass with the customer’s ID card. Based on experience, friends exchanged tips and suggestions about local restaurants and puddle entrance policies on Facebook. At least one trendy bar in Jerusalem requires only unfamiliar customers to show a “green pass” and uses the system to stop bad behavior.
In my new, vaccinated life, I feel a sense of comfort and relaxation. A few days ago, I caught myself in the supermarket without even wearing a mask. This is still necessary in public places.
We live in brilliant isolation. Virus restrictions still make most travel a difficult task, and non-Israelis generally cannot enter the country. I miss my family overseas. We are a country living in a bubble before the rest of the world catches up.