Much has been made of the high and effective levels of vaccination in Israel - which has been seen as a lead country in the battle against Covid.

How do these levels vary between Israelis and Palestinians in Israel? How have the vaccines been distributed? And if Palestinians have received lower levels, how has this affected the development of herd immunity, among peoples who to some extent, at least, live in the same community.

  • 8
    You need to distinguish between Arab Israelis and Palestinians in the occupied territories under Palestinian Authority rule.
    – Stuart F
    Oct 1, 2021 at 10:05
  • For the occupied Palestinian territory, you may get a rough idea of the progress of vaccination from WHO's COVID situation reports: emro.who.int/opt/information-resources/…
    – yannis
    Oct 1, 2021 at 10:08
  • @StuartF I am naturally aware of that distinction - but do you have any information which answers my question?
    – WS2
    Oct 1, 2021 at 14:19
  • 1
    @WS2 For what it's worth I also think that the question is valid and voted to reopen (3 votes so far). Imho this question is on-topic in the sense that inequalities and discriminations are relevant.
    – Erwan
    Oct 1, 2021 at 23:19
  • Based on your comments I've changed "Jews" to Israelis since you seem ask about the PA vs Israel approach to Covid-19. And likewise for your confusing title, which seemed to ask something else than the body of the Q. Oct 1, 2021 at 23:30

2 Answers 2


Arab Israelis have lower vaccination rates, but it's not due to lack of access. The government is trying to convince the Arab population to get vaccinated but many of them simply don't want to and don't believe in the vaccinations.

With regards to Palestinians, they are responsible for their own health. Israel did offer vaccination to Palestinian workers in Israel and had a vaccine-swap deal ready, which the Palestinians later refused claiming the vaccines were "almost expired". Israel also offered to vaccinate Palestinians in Al-Aqsa Mosque but the Palestinians refused to that as well.

The sickness rates and mortality rates in the Arab society in Israel are worse than in the general population. This is not only due to lack of people vaccinating, but also because they live in more crowded villages and have more mass gatherings (for example in weddings).

Haaretz's COVID in Israel: Vaccination Rate Low, Infection High Among Arabs, and Officials Are at a Loss has the following figure showing Covid cases by demographic in the fourth week of September 2021:

enter image description here

Virtually all the young people (under 60) with severe cases are not vaccinated at all, or were vaccinated more than 6 months ago and the effect has weaned off.

  • Can you provide a source for the plot? Did you make it yourself? If so, what data did you base it on? Why does the plot only cover 19 through 25 September? It seems that's too small a time window to say if these trends are meaningful.
    – JJJ
    Oct 3, 2021 at 14:34
  • 1
    I took it from an "Haaretz" article. It focuses on late September to show the effects of the 3rd vaccines on the general population vs the Arab population
    – asaf92
    Oct 3, 2021 at 14:36
  • 1
    Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Oct 3, 2021 at 14:39

First note that despite what the UN Special Rapporteurs (for Palestine) have called for, [in March at least] Israel had refused responsibility for vaccinating Palestinians who are not Israeli citizens, invoking the Oslo accords:

The United Nations (UN) human rights body has released a statement saying it's Israel's responsibility to provide equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

The body says differential access is "morally and legally" unacceptable under international law laid out in the Geneva Conventions on the regulation of occupied territories.

But Israeli health minister, Yuli Edelstein, told the BBC: "We can also look into the so-called Oslo agreements where it says loud and clear that the Palestinians have to take care of their own health."

The Oslo accords - which Israel signed with the Palestine Liberation Organisation - give the Palestinian Authority oversight of public health under the principles of self-determination.

So Israel's own rapid vaccination programme did not extend to non-Israeli Palestinians at this point in time, at least.

By mid-June 55% of Israelis had received both doses of the vaccine, while only 30% of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza had received one dose. There's also a significant difference between Gaza and the West Bank. By June only 5% in Gaza had been vaccinated. By September, 37% of Palestinians in the West Bank had received one dose, but only 18% in Gaza. In the latter area, there was apparently significant vaccine skepticism; the Hamas de facto government had to introduce a vaccine mandate. And according to the NYT, Israel did vaccinate [at least some] non-citizen Palestinians who were working in Israel:

Last spring, Israel gave vaccines to more than 100,000 Palestinians who work in Israel but not to the millions of other Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

  • 3
    But why and how should the Israelis administer vaccinations to people in Gaza &c? It would seem that they would need to send in a fairly significant armed force to do so. It's been reported (link in other answer) that they tried to give the Palestinians vaccines for Palestinian health workers to administer, but they were refused.
    – jamesqf
    Oct 3, 2021 at 16:52
  • 1
    Israel has no way to administer vaccines in Palestinian-controlled territories. It has no presence in Gaza strip and West Bank cities, health or otherwise. The Palestinian Authority has it's own health system and budget, so they should handle their own vaccine program, just as they handle their other health concerns. Oct 12, 2021 at 13:47

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .