Adalah: Israel Fails to Provide Real-time Coronavirus Updates in Arabic for Palestinian Citizens

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) with Israeli Health Minister Yaakov Litzman. (Photo: File)

The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel sent an urgent letter to Israeli Health Ministry officials on Sunday demanding that the ministry provide real-time coronavirus-related updates and information also in Arabic.

Adalah and member of the Israeli parliament Abu Shehadeh, in the urgent letter, addressed to Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar Siman-Tov, demand that all information and directives relating to coronavirus be immediately made accessible to the Arabic-speaking public on all its communications platforms, social media, and smartphone apps.

An examination of the Israeli Health Ministry’s website revealed that ongoing updates related to coronavirus are being issued only in Hebrew; Arabic-language updates are issued only after significant delays. In addition, the ministry’s social media posts and smartphone apps are accessible only in Hebrew. 

Adalah Attorney Aiah Haj Odeh stressed in the letter that Israel’s failure to provide up-to-date virus-related information in Arabic not only violates the right to equality but also constitutes an immediate danger to public health.

In addition, Adalah stressed that there is still no information in Arabic on Health Ministry social media platforms and the ministry’s coronavirus app is not offered in Arabic.

“We demand that the Israeli Health Ministry unequivocally commit to providing all information in Arabic – just as it is in Hebrew – before we turn to the courts,” said Adalah Attorney Aiah Haj Odeh.

Palestinian citizens of Israel constitute approximately 20 percent of the country’s total population, according to 2019 data from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics.

(WAFA, PC, Social Media)

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