On March 25th the BBC News website published a report titled “Covid passports: What are different countries planning?” on its ‘Europe’ page which includes a section headed “Israel already has a vaccine passport system – how does that work?”.
Initial versions of the report correctly told readers that:
“Israel has the highest vaccination rate in the world. More than half the population have already received two vaccine doses. Last month it was able to begin easing a nationwide lockdown.
A “Green Pass” is available to anyone who has been fully vaccinated or has recovered from Covid-19. They have to show it to access facilities such as hotels, gyms or theatres.
It is available as a paper certificate or in an app, which links users to their personal health ministry data.
The app is opening up opportunities for international travel. Israel has struck deals with Greece and Cyprus so Israeli citizens with passes can travel to those two countries.”
Several hours after its initial publication the report was amended to include a continuation of that sub-section:
“However, several issues have been reported with the system since it was rolled out.
Foreign nationals cannot get hold of the pass, nor can vaccinated citizens who are not insured with an Israeli healthcare provider. Experts have expressed privacy concerns over the smartphone app, and the government has admitted the police do not have the staff to check if businesses are complying with the new rules.” [emphasis added]
Since January 1995 health insurance has been obligatory for all Israeli citizens.
“Every resident must register as a member with one of the health-care organizations. […]
Payment of health insurance premiums is compulsory. The National Insurance Institute collects health insurance premiums in the same way it collects national insurance premiums.
Employees will have the premium deducted by their employer. Self-employed persons will remit them directly to the National Insurance Institute.
The collection of health insurance premiums is progressive: low-income earners pay less and high-income earners pay more.”
It is hence highly unlikely that “vaccinated citizens who are not insured with an Israeli healthcare provider” represents a significant issue.
While there have indeed been some technical difficulties for foreign nationals who do not have an Israeli ID number, the Ministry of Health has stated that it is aware of the issue and is working to find appropriate solutions. The relevant MoH website now allows application for the Green Pass using either one’s ID number or passport number.