Ben-Dror Yemini
Ben-Dror Yemini
A man is vaccinated against coronavirus at a clinic in Bnei Brak

Israel's leaders have a responsibility to the vaccinated

Opinion: Elected officials must put vaccine refusers in their place, despite the possible legal objections; those who refuse to aid the battle against the pandemic should not have the right to sit at a restaurant, go to school or visit a shopping mall

Ben-Dror Yemini |
Published: 02.14.21 , 23:26
Kiryat Shmona in northern Israel is currently the most vaccinated city in the country. Slowly but surely, life there is returning to normal; worries are dissipating and businesses reopening.
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  • Kiryat Shmona residents now want to keep their town clear of any coronavirus infections.
    It is extremely hard to reach their amazing achievement of 100% inoculations among all eligible people, but it is an accomplishment that is not too farfetched for the rest of the country too.
    And yet this success remains very fragile; just one virus carrier is all that is needed to make it all collapse.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    מבצע החיסונים בבני ברק
    מבצע החיסונים בבני ברק
    A man is vaccinated against coronavirus at a clinic in Bnei Brak
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    At some point, we as a society have to take a hard stance on the issue of vaccination and ensure that everyone who can has had the jab.
    It is at this stage, the nation's judicial experts - those self-proclaimed guardians of personal rights - enter the picture. They say that we cannot force someone who had their intelligence degenerated by fake news to get the vaccine; they are still human beings with basic civil rights.
    For example, asked a veteran jurist, how can we prevent people who will not be vaccinated from entering a pharmacy or a supermarket, when these essential businesses were open during lockdown?
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    בדיקות קורונה בנתב"ג
    בדיקות קורונה בנתב"ג
    A woman is tested for coronavirus before boarding a plane at Ben-Gurion Airport
    (Photo: AFP)
    When it comes to these kinds of issues, judges and jurists find a balance - it is not an accurate science. But the final responsibility always lies with the lawmakers.
    We all know that every decision they make is driven by political motives, but we are still living in a representative democracy.
    If you do not like their leniency towards one group or another, such as the ultra-Orthodox, simply do not vote for them at the polls. This is the beauty of the process: if we do not like the way politicians make decisions, we vote them out.
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    עימותים באשדוד
    עימותים באשדוד
    Police officers and Haredi residents of Ashdod clash over coronavirus regulations
    (Photo: Reuters)
    There are those who say the country should become a technocracy, but Israel already is one when it comes to legal questions.
    It is time to find the vital balance between elected officials and the judiciary.
    It is absurd that the attorney general or any of his representatives has the final word on any decision about the vaccines.
    Though Avichai Mandelblit's intentions are good, our civil rights are far more important.
    If you refuse to get vaccinated, you do not have a basic right to go to a restaurant, attend school or shop at a mall.
    The rights of those who have been vaccinated to live a normal life supersedes the rights of those who won't abide by the measures required to do so.
    The minority who refuse to have the vaccine must keep living in lockdown while the majority who have been inoculated will be able to exit it.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    גרפיטי של מתנגדי החיסונים בטבריה
    גרפיטי של מתנגדי החיסונים בטבריה
    'We are not sheep' is sprayed on the wall of a vaccine center in Tiberias
    Sometimes - but not always - the rights of the many outweigh the rights of the few.
    Legal experts might try to stop this and they may also need to be put in their place.
    And yet their well-meaning intervention is nothing compared to the real problem of decision-makers who are unwilling to to make critical decisions.
    At this crucial hour, when we are finally on the cusp of controlling the pandemic, we need leaders who can make decisions - even the hard ones.
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