The Right to Vaccine: Dealing with Vaccine Hesitancy

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This policy paper of the Zulat Institute, co-authored with Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), is a continuation of the policy paper titled
The Right to Vaccination: Dealing with the Violation of the Right to Vaccines published in January 2021. In view of the vaccination campaign in Israel, which started out with extraordinary demand for a vaccine and has now run into “vaccine hesitancy,” we would like to discuss the principles by which this phenomenon should be dealt with from a human and social rights perspective. Our examination of the methods used so far to address vaccine hesitancy has yielded practical recommendations for decision-makers.

Making entry into businesses or public places contingent upon the presentation of a “green pass” showing that a person has been vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19, creates tension between the rights of the individual and the public interest and is problematic as a means of promoting vaccine compliance, though required in light of the benefits for reopening the economy amid a pandemic.

However, Zulat and PHR would like to caution against the slippery slope of expanding existing legislation to allow such conditionality even after the pandemic, in order to motivate a high compliance rate to vaccination against the coronavirus or other infectious diseases. To this end, our expert team recommends advancing legislation that regulates all vaccination policy in Israel, including the allocation of resources and manpower for advocacy efforts, computerization, and accessibility of vaccines to underprivileged populations.

The Zulat-PHR expert team recommends advancing legislation that regulates all vaccination policy in Israel, including the allocation of resources and manpower for advocacy efforts, computer infrastructure, and accessibility of vaccines to underprivileged population groups.

This paper presents a variety of policy recommendations that touch on 4 main issues: commitment to the common good, building trust, commitment to social justice (equitable access to vaccines), and protection of individual rights. 




Dr. Maha Sabbah Karkabi


Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Tel Aviv University (2015), a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London (2015-2016), a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Sociology at Tel Aviv University (2016-2017), and a postdoctoral fellowship Ph.D. at the Humphrey Institute for Social Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (2018-2020).
Dr. Maha Karbahi’s areas of interest focus on the connection between social change, family behavior, and gender inequality in societies in the process of change and specifically in Palestinian Arab society in Israel. Her research draws attention to the study of family life and employment, using a combined “ethnic lens” and “gender lens” and paying attention to the perspective of Palestinian Arab women, a group characterized by intersections between multiple marginal locations, which over the years has remained hidden from the research eye. Dr. Karkabi-Sabah’s research is published in professional journals and chapters in scientific books that are considered pioneers in family research, work, and gender equality.


Prof. Frances Raday

Professor Emeritus in the Lieberman Chair in Labor Law, in the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University and serves as a full professor in the College of Management’s academic track, where she also serves as chair of the graduate program and as honorary president of the Concord Center for International Law Absorption. Radai was a member of a working group of the UN Human Rights Council on discrimination against women. In addition, she is a prominent and feminist human rights activist.


Dr. Rawia Aburabia 

Faculty member of Sapir Academic College’s School of Law, received her PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research deals with the interface between law, gender, minorities, and human rights. Has published in leading journals on the subject of the matrimonial laws pertaining to Muslim women in Israel. Her book Under the Law, Outside Justice: Polygamy, Gendered Citizenship, and Colonialism in Israeli Law is expected to be published as part of the Gender Series of Kibbutz Meuhad Publishing House.

Dr. Aburabia has extensive experience in international human rights and public law. She has worked as a jurist for the Association for Civil Right and has been invited as a specialist to address such international forums as the United Nations and the European Parliament on the subject of indigenous communities and minority rights. She has interned with Human Rights Watch in Washington DC, and has been a member of the executive board of Amnesty International. In 2018, she was selected by the magazine Globes as one of the 40 most promising young persons in Israel under the age of 40.



Ron Kessler

With over two decades of experience in the field of digital content, Ron has participated in numerous political and social campaigns. He helped run the digital activity of senior public officials, and worked in various NGOs. Ron is a fundamentally optimistic man, who believes that Israel can be changed and so can people. Lives in Tel Aviv.