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Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today

How is the Green Passport system working, for example, at restaurants?

So to sit inside, you have to have the Green Passport, which you download as a government app on your phone and you have to put in your details. And then you can show this app or you can get a printout version.

From what I understand, restaurants are not all checking everybody assiduously. You can kind of flash a document and it might be yours or it might not. They’re not checking your ID and then checking your Green Passport, but they are trying to stick to the regulations at least by asking if you have a Green Passport when you phone to make a reservation.

Of course, it’s a bit awkward for the restaurateurs because they don’t want to be the police, checking people’s documents. I called a restaurant yesterday, one of my old favorites in Jerusalem, and I asked the owner, “How’s it going?” And he said: “Well, actually, it’s really embarrassing. People call and I have to start getting into their personal business. ‘Are you vaccinated?’ And then they start saying, well, I’m not because this, that and the other, and telling me stuff I just don’t want to hear.”

What lessons can the rest of the world learn from Israel’s reopening?

In a way, Israel was this kind of world laboratory for the efficacy of the vaccine, because the government pressed ahead so quickly with the campaign to vaccinate. Now, I think to some degree, Israel has become the test case for all these other legal and ethical questions that arise about what to do with your vaccinated population and, of course, your unvaccinated populations.

There are some people who don’t want to get vaccinated and people who feel their rights are being infringed. And that has created some confusion, and a bit of chaos, and some slightly illogical situations. Are unvaccinated teachers allowed to teach a classroom? Are unvaccinated waiters or bartenders allowed to be in a restaurant full of vaccinated customers? There are still lots of open questions. So one of the lessons is to try to work out some of the pitfalls before you open.

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