NPR

How Israel Persuaded Reluctant Ultra-Orthodox Jews To Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19

As anti-vaccine sentiment spread among ultra-Orthodox Jews, officials waged an aggressive campaign against rumors and hesitancy. Today, 80% of ultra-Orthodox adults over age 30 are vaccinated.
An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man receives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine in the Israeli city of Bnei Brak in February. Source: Mostafa Alkharouf

Editor's note: The fight against disinformation has become a facet of nearly every story NPR international correspondents cover, from vaccine hesitancy to authoritarian governments spreading lies. This and other stories by NPR correspondents around the globe try to tease out how effective certain tactics have been at combating disinformation, and what lessons can be learned from other countries' experiences.


BNEI BRAK, Israel — The battle of attrition was fought with big black Hebrew letters on large white posters in Israel's most devout Jewish neighborhoods.

Nearly every day this winter, a new pashkevil — Yiddish for street poster — would appear with a dire warning against the COVID-19 vaccine.

"The vaccines for corona are suspected of dark conspiracies and grave dangers," one poster said.

"Who knows if more than a thousand people who died in the Holy Land, may the All-Merciful protect us, would have stayed

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