Most of Israel Is Getting Back to Pre-Covid-19 Life. Not This Town. – The Wall Street Journal

Posted By on May 8, 2021

PARDES HANNA, IsraelWith its world-leading vaccination program, Israel has offered other countries such as the U.S. a glimpse into a post-pandemic future. But holdouts in towns such as Pardes Hanna are slowing the race to stamp out Covid-19, giving the virus time to linger and mutate in potentially dangerous ways.

This leafy suburb north of Tel Aviv has vaccination rates lower than the national average. Around 56% of the towns population have had at least one shot, 10 percentage points less than Jewish Israelis elsewhere, excluding the Ultraorthodox. That shortfall has left the town vulnerable to fresh infections, including a surge that recently accounted for 20% of new cases in the entire country, reaching a peak of 50 active cases, according to Health Ministry figures.

Throughout this entire period, Ive had zero confidence that Im being told the truth. And when I feel Im not being told the truth, I simply dont play the game, said Micha Raz, a wood artist in the town, in a television interview with Kan News following the flare-up. I dont believe in corona. In my opinion, theres no such thing as corona.

Much of the rest of Israel has been on a different trajectory. After reaching 100,000 new cases a day in January, it is now averaging fewer than 100 a day. Its vaccination drive has inoculated nearly two-thirds of its population with at least one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, making the country a useful case study for how effective the vaccines are.

In March, Israel began to unlock its economy after a series of debilitating lockdowns and some 6,000 deaths. Vaccination certificates known as green passports made it easier for bars, restaurants and other sites to open up. Officials say they plan to lift most of their remaining coronavirus restrictions in the coming days.

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Most of Israel Is Getting Back to Pre-Covid-19 Life. Not This Town. - The Wall Street Journal

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