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March 18, 2020 12:14 pm

South African BDS Advocate’s Claim That Israel Won’t Provide Coronavirus Advice to Arab Citizens Is Rebuffed

avatar by Ben Cohen

Arabic-language guidelines for responding to coronavirus on the website of Israel’s health ministry. Photo: Screenshot.

Anti-Zionist agitators in South Africa are pushing the false claim that Israel has not published Arabic-language guidelines for dealing with the coronavirus out of contempt for its Arab citizens — despite the fact that these materials, including a video in Arabic, are readily accessible on the Israeli Health Ministry’s website.

Writing in the Daily Maverick news outlet on Tuesday, Ronnie Kasrils — a leader of the BDS movement in South Africa and a veteran of the country’s Communist Party — alleged that coronavirus advice in Israel had only been issued in Hebrew, echoing similar claims made by BDS activists over the weekend.

“Israel by contrast only delivers its coronavirus advice in Hebrew, ignoring the Arab mother tongue of 20 percent of Palestinians living within the Zionist state,” Kasrils asserted.

Among those responding to Kasril’s falsehood was the South African Zionist Federation, in a tweet that accused Kasrils of spreading “lies” and linked to the Arabic section of the Israeli Health Ministry’s website.

Antisemitic and “anti-Zionist” interpretations of the coronavirus crisis have mushroomed as the situation globally has deteriorated over the last month.

Islamist media outlets in Iran, the Arab world and Europe have accused Israel of developing and spreading the coronavirus.

In a speech last Sunday, the former Soviet refusenik and Jewish Agency chief Natan Sharansky spoke out against this surge of antisemitic propaganda.

He noted there was “nothing new in it,” citing the Black Death of the 14th century as a precedent for today’s woes.

Kasril’s false claim notwithstanding, Israel’s Health Ministry has provided detailed and comprehensive advice on coronavirus for the country’s Arab citizens.

Different sections of its website include guidelines on the effects of the virus on pregnancy and breastfeeding, contact with the elderly, travel restrictions and domestic quarantine protocols.

In addition, a video fronted by Israeli-Arab medical professional Dr. Zahi Said offers a simple overview of the key precautionary measures for the virus.

Watch Dr. Zahi Said’s coronavirus advice video for Arabic-speaking citizens of the State of Israel:

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