Everything you need to know about Israel’s green passport program

Written by on February 18, 2021

The country is expected to further return to routine on Sunday and to facilitate this, the Health Ministry will roll out its “green passport” program.

A green passport will be required to enter certain places and to participate in certain activities. Only people who have been vaccinated or have recovered from coronavirus will be eligible for one.

As part of the program, registered gyms, theaters, hotels, concerts and synagogues will be able to operate starting next week.

“We are giving a huge line to vaccinators,” Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said on Thursday during an extensive briefing. “This is the first step back to an almost normal life.”

Edelstein added that soon there will be places of work that will have to require their staff be vaccinated or else undergo a coronavirus test every 48 hours.

The green passport is granted to those who are a week past the second coronavirus vaccination, or to the around 740,000 people recovered from the virus who currently are not eligible for the vaccine.

Rona Kaiser, vice president of information technologies for the Health Ministry explained in detail how people can access their green passports. Here’s what you need to know:

Where can I get my green passport?

The passport can be downloaded via the traffic-light smartphone application, the Health Ministry’s traffic-light website, or via the ministry call center (*5400).

How do I use the app?

Download the app to your Apple or Android phone. Update your personal details, including personal ID number, or passport number, phone number and birth date. Confirm that the information is correct and a code will be sent to your phone. Input the code to confirm. The application will verify for your staff and present you with an animated green passport.

And what about through the website?

On the website, update your personal details and you will be issued with a printable green passport certificate that includes a scannable QR code.

“Unlike the vaccinated and recovering card, this is a high-security code with a digital signature,” Kaiser explained. “We have consulted with quite a few information security consultants to issue a secure green passport.”

People who call the hotline can have the passport sent to them via email, text or even snail mail.

How will establishments check if I am allowed to enter?

When you arrive at a store or other places of business, you will be asked to present your green passport. The printout can be presented for scanning, or the app can be opened and the digital confirmation presented. You will be asked to present your ID card, too.

Business owners can scan the QR code on your certificate via the application, but not using other standard scanning apps.

Can I get a green passport anywhere else?

As of now, green passports are only issued by the Health Ministry and not through health funds, or any other medical institutions or personnel.

For how long is the green passport valid?

The green passport will be valid for six months from one week after the second dose.

Can children get a green passport?

Children who have recovered from coronavirus can receive a green passport and enter the same places as their parents without being tested. Their passport will appear on their parents’ passport.

Edelstein clarified on Thursday that there is not and there will not be an obligation to vaccinate in Israel.

“Whoever chooses not to be vaccinated has his right,” Edelstein said. “There will also be no personal sanctions against someone who is not vaccinated. It should be understood that getting vaccinated is a great privilege that has been given to us, something that many countries in the world have not attained.”

The minister added that there will be some areas that will be open to everyone, even for citizens who have not been vaccinated, and that the possibility that these areas will be expanded depends on the rate of immunization of the entire population.

Additionally, Head of Public Services Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis said that children will also be able to enter various stores, and that they will be able to accompany their parents to hotels if they undergo a coronavirus test.

People who try to forge a green passport will face criminal charges and may even be jailed, he warned.

“Anyone who thinks it is a child’s game and will print a certificate even though he has not been vaccinated will eventually be caught and this activity could also end with a jail term,” Edelstein said.

Health Ministry Director-General Chezy Levy said he held a meeting with senior police officials on Thursday about “enforcement and uncompromising punishment against the issuers of forged green passports – the users and the forgers.”

More activities and establishments are expected to open under the same model in the coming weeks.

“You should get vaccinated now,” Edelstein warned, because it takes about four weeks to reach maximum immunity and receive your green passport. “It is our duty to take care of the health of all Israel’s citizens, and we will not compromise on that.”

Rossella Tercatin contributed to this report.

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