Authorities Can Now Get Details of Unvaccinated Israelis, Lawmakers Decide

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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People visit a shopping mall in central Israeli city of Modiin.
People visit a shopping mall in central Israeli city of Modiin.Credit: GIL COHEN-MAGEN - AFP
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Israel's parliament approved on Wednesday a law allowing authorities access to the personal details of people who are not vaccinated, in a move that has raised privacy concerns as the government presses on with its vaccination campaign.

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Meanwhile, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, along with lawmaker Yakov Asher, chairman of the Knesset's Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, announced a pilot program to monitor Israelis returning from abroad using electronic bracelets, to ensure they comply with quarantine regulations. 

MK Asher said they would advance "very" urgent legislation on the matter. Another lawmaker on the committee, Yoav Kish, argued the move requires willingness by citizens to cooperate, as enforcement would be practiaclly impossible.

The emergency regulation approved by the Knesset on unvaccinated people's information will be in effect for three months and could later be extended. Thirty Knesset members backed the law, while 13 opposed it. 

The information will be available to local authorities, the Education Ministry and officials in the Welfare Ministry.

According to the new law, the Health Ministry will be permitted to share names, ID numbers, addresses, and phone numbers of unvaccinated Israelis with local authorities, and the Education and Welfare Ministries, only in the aim of helping to promote coronavirus vaccinations. Individual citizens will be encouraged to go and get the jab in person; no other procedures have as yet been set up by the Health Ministry.

A Knesset committee earlier this week asked for the legislation to be rushed through parliament, making it more difficult for opponents to voice their concerns. Some rights groups have called on health workers to refuse to obey the law.

In order to reduce the invasion of citizens' privacy and prevent misuse of the information, it will be available only to specific officials, who will be asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement. The law prohibits officials from using the information in case they know the person, or from making the provision of any services conditional on receiving the vaccine.

The information will be deleted at the end of its use, and will be kept no longer than 60 days. Someone who has been approached may demand that their details be deleted and not to be contacted again.

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