Bennett announces restrictions on Israelis who refuse a jab

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Bennett announces restrictions on Israelis who refuse a jab

One million unvaccinated people will have to produce negative test results before entering crowded public venues, PM says

Michael Daventry is Jewish News’s foreign and broadcast editor

Naftali Bennett unveiled plans to impose sweeping restrictions on unvaccinated Israelis in a bid to encourage nearly one million people to take the jab.

The prime minister said Israelis who refused a vaccine were endangering public health and freedoms, and would have to pick up the cost of their choice.

His comments, in a televised address on Thursday evening, came as a Health Ministry study suggested the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was only 40% effective against the delta variant in preventing infection and mild illness.

However officials said the vaccine was still highly effective at preventing hospitalisation and severe illness.

Bennett said: “As of 8 August, those who refuse vaccines will not be able to go to the cinema, the theatre, the synagogue, the amusement park, the soccer game or any activity with over 100 people, indoors or out, unless they bring negative results from a coronavirus test, at their expense.

“Yes, they will fully bear the costs of the test.

“There is no reason why the taxpayers and people who have carried out their civic duty and have been vaccinated should finance tests for those who refuse to get vaccinated.”

Israel has also announced a travel ban on several countries with high rates of coronavirus infection, including Britain.

All travellers to Israel will now be required to quarantine, regardless of the country they are returning from,  although vaccinated Israelis will be released if they test negative.

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