Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is once again facing heavy criticism over aggressive tactics to persuade Israeli parents to vaccinated their children against COVID-19.
At a cabinet meeting held just before the start of the school year on September 1, Bennett was quoted by Channel 13 News as saying he’d like to see Israeli parents shame one another into vaccinating their children.
“I want the parents of those who vaccinated their children to put pressure on the parents who did not vaccinate. I want the parents to compete with each other. Let them fight,” said Bennett, according to the report.
Israel’s National Parents Association on Monday called the revelation “shocking”, and demanded that Bennett “rescind his statement and, most importantly, allow all Israeli children their basic right to study in educational institutions with tests or vaccines, and not only with vaccines.”
A response issued by the Prime Minister’s Office did not deny that Bennett had made the remark, and insisted that he is doing all he can to “end the phenomenon of mass quarantines and allow as normal a life as possible for Israeli students and their parents, while maintaining their health.”
Israel’s school children are currently on break for the Sukkot holiday, but have already been informed that they will not be allowed back in the classroom late next week without a negative coronavirus test.
Bennett’s government has also determined to cancel the “Green Passport” of any vaccinated Israeli who has not received a booster shot by October 1. But the prime minister is also under intense pressure to shelf that decision after an FDA advisory panel made up of America’s top virus experts voted last week against approving booster shots for the general public.