Court orders COVID-19 vaccine for children against father's will

Divorced father appeals to Rabbinical Court in Jerusalem to prohibit ex-wife from vaccinating their kids; judges rule that the good of the children comes before their father's objections

Kobi Nachshoni |
Published: 10.07.21, 18:07
The Rabbinical Court in Jerusalem has ordered to vaccinate two minors against COVID-19 despite their father's opposition.
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  • The ruling came at the tail end of a dispute between a divorced couple over the mother's wish to vaccinate their two children against the disease while the father, a vaccine opponent who holds shared custody of the children, opposed doing so.
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    (Photo: Shutterstock)
    The rabbinical courts in Israel are granted exclusive jurisdiction over matters of marriage and divorce of those who are recognized as Jewish according to Jewish law (Halakha).
    The father submitted to the court a 50-page document featuring quasi-medical and legal arguments against the vaccine to help substantiate his case.
    In response, the mother submitted to the court a request to allow her to vaccinate her children and attached a recommendation letter from the children's family doctor and from the Health Ministry.
    In their final verdict, which spanned dozens of pages, the judges discussed whether it would be in the best interest of the children to be vaccinated or not due to the father's claim of possible side effects and future damage.
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    בית הדין הרבני
    בית הדין הרבני
    Outside the Rabbinical Court in Jerusalem
    (Photo: Moshe Glantz)
    The judges ultimately ruled that the good of the children came before the father's objections and allowed the mother to get her children vaccinated without their father's consent.
    The judges qualified their decision with the consent of the eldest of the two minors — a 15-year-old boy — to receive the vaccine, owing to "his relatively mature age."
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