Currently, Israel is vaccinating its citizens, as well as Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, at a faster pace than other countries. Millions of Israelis have already received injections. In addition, Israel’s government has shared 20,000 doses with the Palestinian Authority for the purpose of vaccinating front-line healthcare workers. But, while vaccinating Jewish settlers in the West Bank, Israel’s government has declined to provide doses to vaccinate the Palestinian general population in the West Bank and Gaza.
Israeli human rights groups, including Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, Zazim Community Action, the New Israel Fund, Rabbis for Human Rights – Israel, and many others, are advocating that Israel’s government make its vaccine supply available now on an equal basis to all Palestinians living in the occupied territories.
At this time, as new and more contagious strains of COVID-19 are spreading, Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association join the call of the many Israeli organizations that are urging their leaders to act quickly and cooperatively with the Palestinian Authority to develop a vaccination plan that will meet the urgent public health needs of everyone living in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Because COVID-19 knows no boundaries, the wellbeing of Palestinians is inextricably connected to that of Israelis. The Israeli organizations advocating that their government change its current policy are brave and determined, and they deserve our support.