(Washington, D.C., Feb. 26, 2021)--B’nai B’rith International President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:
We strongly condemn Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s reported refusal of an Israeli proposal to open a coronavirus vaccination location in the area of the Temple Mount. The decision puts the health and safety of both Israelis and Palestinians at risk.
The proposal, sent to the Palestinian Authority and the Jerusalem Waqf, the authority overseeing Muslim holy places, was meant to provide vaccinations mainly to Palestinian worshippers gathering at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on the Temple Mount. A second offer by Israel, that the vaccines be administered by Arab Israelis rather than by Jews, was also apparently rejected by the Palestinian Authority and the Waqf.
Abbas’s opposition unambiguously puts politics ahead of the health and safety of citizens. We urge that the vaccination station be allowed to open.
Israel’s rapid and robust program to vaccinate all citizens has resulted in a large drop in COVID-19 hospitalizations. Israel currently has the world’s highest per capita rate of coronavirus vaccinations.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit bnaibrith.org.