Israeli minister: hope for UK tourism

Health minister Yuli Edelstein tells ITV's Peston show he wants West Bank Palestinians working in Israel to receive jab


Israel’s health minister has said he hopes British tourists will be able to travel there this summer as a result of both countries’ successful Covid vaccination programmes. 

Speaking to ITV’s Peston show on Wednesday, Yuli Edelstein also expressed a desire to see more Palestinians receiving the jab courtesy of Israel. 

Discussing the fact that Greece signed a travel deal with Israel this week to allow those with vaccination documents to soon begin to travel, the minister said he hoped other countries could follow.

“I sincerely hope that we will be able to open our borders to British tourists too,” he told Robert Peston. “I understand that in your country the vaccination is moving forward pretty well. But I sincerely hope that by holiday season, it will be in our mutual interests to open the borders with the so-called green passports.”

He also revealed that just 0.02 of those in recent days hospitalised had already received two doses of Pfizer.

Mr Edelstein was also asked about criticism of Israel over its decision not to give the vaccine to Palestinians in the West Bank, while offering it to settlers. 

The minister said: “We are closely cooperating with our neighbours, including the Palestinian Authority. I don’t think we could start with vaccinating the population of Judea and Samaria before offering the vaccine to Israeli citizens, but we did make sure that their medical teams are getting the vaccine. I personally approved these measures. As far as the continuation of this whole operation is concerned, we will be following the developments.”

Mr Peston then asked why Israel was not vaccinating those workers who came from the West Bank into Israel, to which Mr Edelstein responded: “A very good point, we are seriously discussing that these days and I sincerely hope it happens.

“My position is that we have to do that because on one hand they are part of our population practically every day and the second thing is I want to promote coexistence and cooperation. In this particular case you are talking about people who are coming to work here, some of them for many years, and it would be a very good idea to vaccinate them.”

There was no official request from the Palestinian Authority for the Pfizer vaccine and Israel has given 5,000 doses to Palestinian medical workers. 

This week 1,000 doses of the Russian vaccine arrived in Israel, which will be sent into Gaza. 



Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive