Updated: Mar 18
Arab branches of Dror Israel’s youth movement mobilize to promote vaccination against COVID-19in their communities and save lives.
Though Israel’s successful vaccination campaign is the envy of the world, vaccination rates in some communities such as Arab society in Israel, ultra-Orthodox communities and peripheral areas are lagging. Two months ago, the Arab branches of the youth movement decided to mobilize to make sure their communities were vaccinated in order to save lives and help bring their communities back to some semblance of normal.
Shadi Habib Allah, the coordinator of the Arab branches of the youth movement in northern Israel, tells us that “the idea was first raised by one of our branches which was doing a project with a nursing home. They opened a phone bank and called residents of their village about the vaccine - when to come get it, how to get there, if they need help, etc.”
Key youth movement members then met via Zoom with Israel’s Coronavirus commissioner for Arab society, Mr. Ayman Saif, who proposed taking on a campaign to support and encourage vaccination in the community.
The youth movement operates in over 50 villages and towns, with tens of thousands of members, so it was clear that they could make a real difference in the vaccination campaign – which in turn would impact the rate of illness, save lives, and hopefully allow schools and the youth movement to fully re-open.
The campaign was in full cooperation with Ayman Saif's office who would update the volunteers a week in advance about how many doses were shipped where and which villages needed help with phone banking.
As part of the operation, the youth movement made videos in each village with various local politicians, doctors, nurses, business leaders, religious leaders, youth movement leaders and children encouraging people to get vaccinated so that life can go back to normal. Local leaders were filmed saying that their own family was vaccinated and that it’s safe and important. Religious leaders read passages from the Quran that encourage people to preserve health and life. Kids talked about how they want to see their grandparents again, celebrate Ramadan together, go to weddings, etc. The videos were widely circulated online and on social media.
Shadi continues, “Our proudest moment was in solving the problem that some of the smaller villages had no vaccination stations and people were expected to travel to larger towns, which was a significant obstacle for some. We called residents and got lists of people who wanted to get vaccinated close to home. Then Mr. Saif arranged temporary vaccination stations in the village, with everything but the shots themselves set up and run by movement participants and leaders. We assisted in bringing people to the vaccination point, handed out water, set up everything that was needed at the station. We made sure that anyone who needed a ride was picked up by a volunteer and returned home safely.”
Well done to the youth movement branches in Arab communities for their extremely successful campaign to support and encourage vaccination against COVID-19!