JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Israeli Chief Rabbi David Lau was asked by health minister Yuli Edelstein, who is an orthodox Jew himself, whether he would permit vaccinations on Shabbos due to the life-threatening nature of coronavirus. Rabbi Lau responded that at present, since vaccinations are not taking place on a continuous 24/7 basis, there is no justification for allowing vaccinations specifically on Shabbos. If however there will be vaccinations the whole time, demonstrating the urgency to vaccinate the entire public as fast as possible, the rabbinate would consider allowing vaccinations on Shabbos as well.
Edelstein however decided to permit vaccinations on Shabbos to continue, citing the new mutations of the virus and the urgent need to vaccinate as fast as possible in order to prevent more deaths from the virus. He added that he had directed his office to enable vaccinations 24/7 at present.
The Chareidi representatives in the government criticized Edelstein’s decision, in light of the fact that he had received an answer to his query from the rabbinate. Rabbi Gershon Edelstein and Rabbi Chaim Kanievski were also cited as stating that at present there is no justification for vaccinating on Shabbos.
Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar also prohibited vaccination on Shabbos until all hours of the week are utilized for vaccination, but he suggested that Shabbos should be a day for vaccinating the gentile population of Israel and gentile doctors should perform the vaccinations.
The Edah Chareidis also issued a letter prohibiting vaccinations on Shabbos but did not mention the possibility that they may be permitted if vaccinations are performed 24/7.
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