Why are people in Israel less afraid of the corona vaccination than people in the West, especially those in Europe? In the past few weeks we have received increasing numbers of emails from readers expressing their outrage over Israel’s accelerated vaccination process. I have personally spoken to readers on the phone in order to understand their position on this matter. It’s too big a risk, some say. Others are skeptical over the fact that the vaccine was developed in just a few months, when usually it takes 10 years or more to get approved.
Over 65 percent of our readers consider Israel’s vaccination drive to be dangerous. According to our survey, in which 500 subscribers participated, only 30 percent describe Israel’s vaccination program as being “good” or “very good.” Five percent don’t care whether Israelis get vaccinated or not.
There is an infinite amount of information for and against vaccinations floating around on social media. Encouragement, doubts, fears and conspiracy theories are spreading rapidly. Here and there Israel is even described as acting as a guinea pig for Pfizer and the world community. Israel’s national campaign “Back to Life” promises to have the entire population of Israel from the age of 16 and up vaccinated against the coronavirus by Passover, which is in two months. Will Israel be the first country to overcome the pandemic? Is Israel’s course of action correct?
National leaders as role models
Most of the people around me have either already been vaccinated or want to be vaccinated. In Israel, the political and medical leaders acted as role models for the nation and were the first to be inoculated on camera. Among them were Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Health Yuli Edelstein, and leading doctors. Encouraging and motivating role models. This is something with which every young soldier in the Israeli army is acquainted. Their officers are always the first to charge into battle, as they shout the famous Israeli war cry: “After me!” And this is how Israel’s leadership acted during the Corona crisis. Now Israelis are rushing to get vaccinated. Of course, the vaccination certificate also allows you to be more mobile, which makes it easier for everyone to travel in the country and abroad. No more quarantine.
Everything is a risk, including the accelerated Israeli vaccination effort. But isn’t Israel’s very existence in the Middle East at risk daily? The people of Israel are a conditioned people who have survived one risk after another for generations. From a biblical and spiritual standpoint, with God’s help, Israel has repeatedly overcome all risks. This may not have been easy and may have had its consequences, just as the year of Corona will have economic consequences.
To contain and prevent the pandemic, the government has often made politically-motivated decisions and did not quarantine some high-risk populations, resulting in a high number of cases in some areas. Afterwards, the entire country had to go into quarantine, as is the case at present. The Orthodox Jews and their representatives in the Knesset are Netanyahu’s most loyal coalition allies, which he does not want to upset under any circumstances. Especially not just before the next election. Netanyahu has been heavily criticized for this, but on the other hand he is also praised for betting everything on the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
It’s true, Israel paid three times as much for the vaccine as did other countries. Israel also agreed to provide morbidity data for the Israeli population as part of the agreement with Pfizer. The close ties between Netanyahu and Pfizer CEO, the Greek Jew Albert Bourla, also helped him to strike a quick deal. Now the German press is wondering why there are more Pfizer vaccine doses in Israel than in Germany, the country where the vaccine was developed. When an expert on public health and epidemiology, Prof. Gabi Barbash, was asked on Israeli television why other countries have not achieved the same success, he said: “In no other country has the prime minister made it his personal responsibility to remove the corona epidemic.”
Former-Prime Minister Ehud Barak then came along and suggested that Pfizer and other drug manufacturers were using the Israeli public as test subjects, and that Israel is said to have made itself available as a willing guinea pig. According to Barak, it is not thanks to Netanyahu that Israel procured so many doses of vaccine while larger nations have to wait. Rather, claimed Barak, “Pfizer found the perfect location for its pilot program in Israel.”
The medical director of Pfizer in Israel, Dr. Alon Rapaport insisted, “This is not a human experiment. The Israelis are not guinea pigs.” In a long interview in the Israeli daily Yediot Achronot, Rapaport explained how Israel got the deal with Pfizer wrapped up. He described marathon negotiations in which the government convinced Pfizer that Israel should be among the first to receive millions of doses of the vaccine. But Rapaport is not allowed to disclose the exact figures, such as price or number of doses. “If I knew that we were being used as guinea pigs, I would not have had myself vaccinated, nor my mother,” he stressed.
A number of foreign readers and colleagues have told me that it looks like the world is trying to use the Jewish people in Zion as guinea pigs. On the phone someone said to me: “If there are no side effects in Israel and if the people here survive the vaccinations, then that gives a green light to the rest of the world.” I responded cynically and asked what benefit would it be to God if His people were to go mad or die because of the vaccination? Doesn’t that contradict God? Throughout history, hasn’t God used Israel to demonstrate His power to other nations?
Israel will survive the Pfizer vaccinations. And the faster everyone in the country is vaccinated, the faster the borders will be reopened. You will be able to visit Israel again. Nor can I imagine God sacrificing His chosen people as guinea pigs for Pfizer, or for you. On the contrary, in this case Israel is an example for others, a light to the nations. It is Israel that is encouraging and motivating other nations to not be afraid of a syringe.