Lod Mayor Yair Revivo threatened on Monday to bar residents from using municipal services if they do not get vaccinated against COVID-19, including denying their children entry to schools.
"I want to make an important announcement," he said in a live feed on his Facebook page. "Lod Municipality will comprise a list of sanctions. Those who will not get vaccinated will not be able to receive services from the municipality, their children will be barred from the education system… [residents] will not be able to come to the municipal market when it opens, and other things we will publish later on. Anyone who is not vaccinated or has not recovered from COVID will not be able to receive services."
Revivo called on residents to come and get vaccinated as COVID-19 continued to spread across the central city.
"We have a thousand patients in Lod, and another 100 new patients join every day We cannot continue like this," he said. "It is time to take responsibility, stop with all the conspiracies that say [the vaccine] is dangerous. It is more dangerous to die than COVID.
"Last week, we bade farewell to another one of the city's seniors who passed away from COVID. This month, 20 residents of Lod died and another 2,000 became infected. Let's bolster the vaccination campaign."
Revivo paid a visit to one of the city's vaccination centers and talked mainly with Arab residents and asked them to help raise the low turnout among the city's Arab population. The mayor also asked one of the people in attendance to urge people to get vaccinated in Arabic.
"It's time to come, share this message, everyone should take it upon themselves to get people vaccinated," he said.
According to Health Ministry data, 25.9% of Lod's population, which is about 19,000 residents, received the first dose of the vaccine, and 14.6% of residents received the second booster shot.
Revivo himself contracted COVID-19 last September after praying at a synagogue on Yom Kippur despite health regulations prohibiting gatherings in houses of prayer.
Lod Municipality issued a response to Revivo's remarks in which it
"Any move, educational or for deterrence, which can lead to the eradication of coronavirus in the country, in general, and in Lod, in particular, is welcomed," the statement read. "Mayor Yair Revivo wanted to stress the importance of vaccines during this period when the virus continues to strike us mercilessly with a high infection rate in the city of Lod, an average of 100 confirmed cases and 2 deaths every day, but with only 25% [of residents] vaccinated, when neighboring Modi'in crossed 50%.
"The mayor's remarks were made to raise awareness, encourage people to get vaccinated and help the city's residents get back to their everyday life and Therefore, the municipality will devise a series of restrictions that do not violate the law, for those who do not present a vaccination certificate."