vaccine protest israel passport health green
© Avshalom Sassoni/MAARIV
Israelis protest the government's COVID-19 vaccination campaign near HaBima Theater in Tel Aviv, Feb. 24, 2021.
Protesters demonstrate against vaccine coercion, green passports in Tel Aviv Speakers and protestors called for more "government transparency," and to "stop tyranny."

Demonstrators gathered in Tel Aviv on Wednesday to protest against forced vaccination and the green passport program which allows vaccinated individuals and recovered COVID-19 patients to take part in certain activities, including attending mass gatherings.

Among the speakers at the rally, which drew a crowd in the hundreds, were lawyer Oren Pasternak, the main organizer of the event, and Tamir Hefatz, a founder of Higayon Habari (Common Sense Model). Arieh Avni, founder of the Rapeh (Only Health) Party was also present, as were some of the party's candidates.

Speakers and protestors alike called for more "government transparency," and to "stop tyranny." The protesters demanded that the government remove a 30-year embargo on the details of the Constitution Committee's meetings on coronavirus restrictions and cancel the green passport initiative, which they say leads to a two-tier system within Israeli society: a privileged "vaccinated class" and an lower class of those who can't get the vaccine, or don't want to.

One large sign held by members of the crowd read "apartheid" in English and Hebrew in bold next to a green passport. Another large sign equated green passports with the tattooed arms of former Auschwitz-Birkenau prisoners.

One speaker invoked the memory of his great aunt, saying she was killed by the "exact same kind of people" who are today placing restrictions on movement, saying that "the people are tired of medical oppression."

Another speaker said she would only volunteer at a coronavirus ward if she were allowed to "film everything," and to go into the ward without any protective equipment. She later added that the lockdown regulations are exactly like rape, without detailing exactly how.

At the time of the protest, Israel's death toll from COVID-19 stood at 5,648, according to Health Ministry data. The government has also claimed that the vaccine has so far been proven to be 99% effective in preventing severe disease and death from the disease.