Adalah demands Israel include Arabic on COVID-19 vaccination certificates

Health Ministry issuing certificates of vaccination and COVID-19 recovery in Hebrew and English only, in violation of Supreme Court ruling and ministry guidelines.

Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel sent a letter to Israel’s Health Ministry on Tuesday, 23 February 2021, demanding that it include Arabic on its official COVID-19 vaccination cards and recovery certificates. The documents – necessary for international travel and access to certain facilities inside the country – are issued only with Hebrew and English.


Israel’s COVID-19 vaccination ID (Israeli Health Ministry)


In his letter to Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, Adalah Attorney Wesam Sharaf argued that Israel’s obligation to provide access to information in Arabic has long been backed by Supreme Court rulings.


Adherence to this obligation to provide essential information in Arabic is even more critical when it comes to a certificate or document relevant to a citizen’s exercise of the constitutional right to freedom of occupation, the right to freedom of movement, and the right to freedom of religion.


Adalah’s letter also stressed that the issuance of the COVID-19 certificates without Arabic is a violation of directives issued by the Israeli Health Ministry’s director general regarding cultural and linguistic accessibility in the health system


Adalah Attorney Wesam Sharaf commented:


"The exclusion of Arabic from these essential COVID-19 documents is emblematic of Israeli state exclusion of the Arabic language and of Palestinian citizens of Israel in general. It violates their rights and it hinders their participation in the eventual process of returning to a new normal in the wake of the pandemic.”


CLICK HERE to read the letter [Hebrew]