Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday night became the first Israeli to receive the coronavirus vaccine, getting the shot on live television and setting off the nation’s ambitious COVID-19 vaccination campaign, hailing the occasion as a “very great day” for Israel.
“One small injection for a man and one giant leap for the health of us all,” Netanyahu, 71, quipped from Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, paraphrasing astronaut Neil Armstrong’s famous words after landing on the moon.
Netanyahu pledged that millions of doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine will arrive by the end of the month and urged all Israelis to be vaccinated, reported the Times of Israel in its evening edition on Saturday.
Riffing on the theme of the Hanukkah holiday that just ended, he added: “We are leaving the darkness of the coronavirus, at the start of the journey to a great light.” He said he hoped Israel could be the first country to beat the COVID-19 pandemic if people get vaccinated.
“I asked to be first to be vaccinated, along with Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, to serve as a personal example and encourage you to get vaccinated,” he said. “Go get vaccinated.”
He said that the return to life as we used to know it begins now. For all those who have been unable “to hug grandpa and grandma,” for all those whose businesses have been closed, “who haven’t been able to go to restaurants or the gym, or to watch soccer or basketball,” the vaccine drive means Israel can start “to reopen, to return to what it was… to normal life. It starts here.” /argumentum.al