Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion warned local Arab officials in the city that unvaccinated residents may not be permitted to go to mosque, schools or hotels, in audio recordings released on Monday.
The meeting between the mayor and the heads of a number of neighborhoods in the city was held amid concerns about low vaccination rates in East Jerusalem.
“They are doing themselves a favor, they are not doing me a favor,” Lion can be heard saying in the Sunday call with neighborhood heads. “If they do not want to be vaccinated, they will not be vaccinated, but they will not be allowed to enter hotels, they will not be allowed to enter mosques, they will not be allowed to enter schools, and then they will say: ‘Why didn’t you tell us?’”
The legality of preventing unvaccinated individuals from attending gatherings or going to work is still under debate as the country struggles to add incentives to its world-leading vaccination program, which has been losing momentum.
Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion visits a COVID-19 vaccination center in Jerusalem, on December 27, 2020 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Lion said that residents of the city were “indifferent” to the vaccination program and needed to be called and told to go and get inoculated.
“They will be under pressure soon when everyone goes back to work and then they tell him: ‘Hello, stop, you did not get vaccinated, stay home now,’” Lion said.
“Remember what I tell you, friends — whoever does not get vaccinated will not be able to return to normal routine,” Lion said.
According to the report, the unnamed Arab officials on the call agreed with Lion.
“Ramadan is in another month, a month and a half. If you do not get vaccinated, you do not enter the mosque. If you do not get vaccinated, you do not go to a hotel. If you do not get vaccinated, you do not get on a train. If you do not get vaccinated, you do not go to the HMO. That’s the way it should be,” one community leader said.