Israel at 2 million vaccinated; Adelson buried in Jerusalem: Israel Update

January 15, 2021

Israel has successfully vaccinated approximately two million citizens, or about 21 percent of the population. This achievement comes at a time when most countries are struggling to vaccinate 1 percent of their populations. The Health Ministry began distribution of the vaccine on December 20, when doses were received from both Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE. Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel would be the first country in the world to inoculate all of its citizens over the age of 16, adding that it would do so by the end of March. On Friday, the Health Ministry announced that all Israelis over the age of 45 will be eligible to receive the first round of the vaccine on Sunday. Moreover, Israel's Diaspora Affairs Ministry is working on a plan to provide vaccines for Holocaust survivors in Israel and around the world. Despite Israel’s success with vaccinations, the virus continues to spread across the nation.


Israel's coronavirus czar said Thursday that health authorities will ask that the nationwide lockdown—originally set to end on January 21—be extended by one week. Officials said that due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, an additional seven days might prove necessary. On Thursday, clashes broke out in Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim neighborhood when police enforced lockdown rules at dozens of Haredi schools that were operating in violation of coronavirus restrictions. Since the lockdown began, many educational institutions in Haredi communities have remained open, but have seen only minimal pushback from the police. Because of this light-handed response, the Netanyahu government has been accused of turning a blind eye to the violations.


Jewish-American casino magnate, Sheldon Adelson, died Monday night at the age of 87. His death was attributed to complications from treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. As one of the most prolific donors in conservative politics, Adelson helped shape the political landscape in both the United States and Israel. The son of Jewish immigrants, Adelson was a staunch supporter of Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli-based initiatives such as Birthright. He was a driving force in getting President Trump to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Last year, Adelson cemented the United States’ embassy move by purchasing the US ambassador’s residence in Herzliya, which is just north of Tel Aviv. Adelson was buried this week in Jerusalem, on the Mount of Olives.


The safety, health, and well-being of all community members is a priority for the Jewish Federation. Like many of you, we are closely monitoring the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic. This page has been developed to help our community stay informed about efforts to support the community during this time. This page will be continually updated. 


Shabbat Shalom, 


Jackie Congedo, Director, JCRC


P.S. If you or a friend would like to get our own, up-to-the-minute Israel Update, you can sign up here; when asked for "interests" click "weekly Israel Update."

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