Skip to main content

Israeli mayors offer gifts, incentives for people to get vaccinated

Some Israeli mayors offer gifts and benefits for residents getting vaccinated; others sanction those who refuse.

From the early morning hours of Feb. 11, public address systems made entreaties to the public of Bnei Brak, Israel’s largest ultra-Orthodox city, situated near Tel Aviv. Residents were invited to come that night and receive vaccinations against COVID-19 at four Health Funds sites. Provisions were made in advance for keeping men and women in separate areas, and even small rewards were distributed. They included a container of the traditional Jewish Sabbath dish cholent, a traditional challah loaf bread for the Sabbath and a can of Coca-Cola.

The “Green Night” campaign initiated by the Bnei Brak municipality was designed to encourage residents of one of Israel’s most crowded cities to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. The city had especially high morbidity rates over the past year; according to the Health Ministry, one in five residents of Bnei Brak had or has COVID-19. Despite this, only 17% of the city’s residents received the first inoculation, and only 9% returned to receive their second. The reason? There has been an avalanche in Israel of fake news, warning both men and women that the vaccination causes fertility problems, among other things. To counter this, the municipality worked with the city’s most reputable rabbis to encourage residents to save themselves from the illness, and get the shot. And it worked!

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.