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Israel’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic: tailoring measures for vulnerable cultural minority populations

Authors
  • Waitzberg, Ruth1, 2, 3
  • Davidovitch, Nadav2
  • Leibner, Gideon4
  • Penn, Nadav1
  • Brammli-Greenberg, Shuli1, 5
  • 1 Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute, JDC Hill, Jerusalem, 91037, Israel , Jerusalem (Israel)
  • 2 Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel , Beer-Sheva (Israel)
  • 3 Technical University Berlin, Berlin, Germany , Berlin (Germany)
  • 4 The Hebrew University, Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel , Jerusalem (Israel)
  • 5 the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel , Jerusalem (Israel)
Type
Published Article
Journal
International Journal for Equity in Health
Publisher
BioMed Central
Publication Date
May 19, 2020
Volume
19
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1186/s12939-020-01191-7
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

Every country has vulnerable populations that require special attention from policymakers in their response to a pandemic. This is because those populations may have specific characteristics, culture and behaviours that can accelerate the spread of the virus, and they usually have less access to healthcare, particularly in times of crisis. In order to carry out a comprehensive national intervention plan, policy makers should be sensitive to the needs and lifestyles of these groups, while taking into account structural and cultural gaps. In the context of Israel, the two most prominent and well-defined minority groups are the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community and parts of the Arab population. The government was slow to recognize the unique position of these two groups, public pressure eventually led to a response that was tailored to the ultra-Orthodox community and during the month of Ramadan a similar response has been implemented among the Arab community.

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