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Yavne mayor says schools off-limits to unvaccinated teachers

Zvi Gov-Ari says move meant ‘to ensure safety for the children’; BIG shopping malls push similar requirement for employees and office visitors

Schoolteachers speak with students on the first day of school, during the coronavirus pandemic, in Tel Aviv on September 1, 2020. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
Schoolteachers speak with students on the first day of school, during the coronavirus pandemic, in Tel Aviv on September 1, 2020. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

The mayor of the central Israeli city of Yavne announced Monday that all teaching staff would be required to be vaccinated if they are to continue teaching in the city’s educational institutions.

“To ensure safety for the children of the city, educational institutions will be out of bounds for teaching staff who refuse vaccination,” Zvi Gov-Ari said.

Gov-Ari added, “Teaching staff who are not vaccinated are endangering themselves and their students.”

Meanwhile, Hay Galis, CEO of BIG Shopping Centers, said all employees in the mall chain must be vaccinated, with both doses, or they will be denied entry to the company’s offices.

עכשיו זה רשמי: "לא תותר הפעלת גן בו הגננת והסייעת אינן מחוסנות"ומה לגבי בתי הספר? קראו את המכתב ששלח ראש העיר לצוותי…

Posted by ‎פורטל יבנה שלי – MYavne‎ on Monday, February 8, 2021

“It’s in our hands to stop the spread of the virus,” Galis said, noting that the required vaccination to enter the chain’s offices “applies to all employees, guests, suppliers, etc.”

The closed down BIG shopping center in Carmiel, on September 24, 2020, during a nationwide lockdown. (David Cohen/Flash90)

The legality of both moves is unclear.

On Thursday, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz proposed advancing legislation that would obligate the public to be inoculated or face punitive measures, according to a television report. Shocked by the suggestion, other ministers did not back Steinitz.

The Health Ministry said Monday morning that 3,480,598 Israelis had received their first vaccine shot, and 2,081,998 have also gotten the second dose.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week that the country is aiming to vaccinate 90 percent of those over the age of 50 within the next two weeks, as part of its race to offset fast-spreading mutations of the coronavirus.

Israelis receive a COVID-19 vaccine at a Maccabi Health vaccination center at the Givatayim mall, outside of Tel Aviv, February 4, 2021. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Even though vaccines are now being offered to all Israelis 16 and over, the pace of inoculations has slowed dramatically, a senior official in the country’s largest health provider said Sunday, accusing online “fake news” of spreading vaccine skepticism.

The latest ministry data showed there were 67,631 active virus patients in the country, of whom 4,560 were diagnosed Sunday. There were 1,121 patients in serious condition.

The positive test rate on Sunday was 8.8 percent, lower than 9.4% on Saturday, but still higher than the 6.5% recorded in early January.

Since the start of the outbreak early last year, 693,212 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Israel and 5,129 have died of the disease.

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