COVID: 67 out of 152 Israeli cities with more than 5 COVID victims are Arab

Jerusalem, the country’s largest, recorded almost 1,000 deaths, Bat Yam has the highest victims per capita with almost 2 residents killed by the virus every 1,000 residents.

 Worker take a COVID-19 rapid antigen test from Israelis, at a Magen David Adom testing center in Lod, on October 17, 2021. (photo credit: YOSSI ALONI/FLASH90)
Worker take a COVID-19 rapid antigen test from Israelis, at a Magen David Adom testing center in Lod, on October 17, 2021.
(photo credit: YOSSI ALONI/FLASH90)

Of the 152 Israeli localities that registered five or more coronavirus victims, 67 are Arab, data released by the Health Ministry to The Jerusalem Post show.

Jerusalem, the country’s largest city, also recorded the highest number of deaths – almost 1,000. But the city with the highest figure of victims per capita is Bat Yam, with almost two people killed by the virus for every 1,000 residents

Since the coronavirus pandemic began in Israel some 20 months ago, it has claimed the life of more than 8,000 Israelis. While the disease has proven to be especially fatal for those over the age of 60, the virus has hit across all religious, geographical and socio-economic spectrums.

The Health Ministry said that for legal reasons it is not possible to release a breakdown of the victims based on their sector – contrary to what happens with daily cases for which this information is published every day.

According to the ministry, a total of 7,582 people died in 152 localities with five victims or more. Another 461 died in areas with one to four COVID deaths. Those locations were not disclosed, also for legal reasons.

 Shaare Zedek hospital team members wearing safety gear as they work in the Coronavirus ward of Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem on September 23, 2021. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) Shaare Zedek hospital team members wearing safety gear as they work in the Coronavirus ward of Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem on September 23, 2021. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Arab-Israelis make up about 21% of the country’s population.

According to a report by the Central Bureau of Statistics released in July, as of May 31, the pandemic had killed 1,187 Arabs in Israel, or about 20% of a little more than 5,800 Arab victims.

Almost five months later, exclusively Arab areas have registered 1,104 victims. They do not include the entire Arab population, since a significant number of Arabs live in mixed cities, starting with Jerusalem – where about 300,000 of the city’s 951,000 residents are Arab – and including places like Acre, Haifa and Lod.

One hundred and sixty-seven people who died lived in Druze towns and villages. Some 147,000 Druze live in Israel, of whom 117 died from COVID in Bedouin areas. Precise data on how many Bedouin live in the country are unavailable, although estimates suggest approximately 200,000.

The ultra-Orthodox sector, which has also suffered a large number of COVID deaths, represents around 13% of the Israeli population.

While a number of victims in that sector has not been disclosed, cities and towns that are almost exclusively haredi do not appear to have a rate of victims per capita much higher than localities from any other sector.

Bnei Brak for example – population 208,000 – recorded 257 victims, or 1.23 per 1,000 residents.

Modi’in Illit – population 77,000 – had 21 COVID deaths, or 0.27 per 1,000 residents.

With the exclusion of some very small localities having a disproportionate number of COVID victims that is less statistically significant – such as the small Ahva agricultural community, with six victims out of 322 residents – most of the cities that have registered the highest number of deaths per capita are rated medium or low, according to the socioeconomic index by the Central Bureau of Statistics, which gives a 1 to the localities rated the lowest and a 10 to those rated the highest.

Bat Yam – population 127,000 – registered 254 victims, or 1.98 per 1,000 residents. The city has gotten a five (medium) socioeconomic mark. Ramle, with a 4 out of 10 socioeconomic rating, has had 1.8 victims per 1,000 residents. Acre – rated 4 – has had 1.6 victims per 1,000 residents.

However, more affluent cities have also recorded a relatively high number of COVID deaths. Gedera, which has a rating of 7, has had 1.62 victims per 1,000 residents out of a total population of 29,000. Netanya – rated 6 – has lost 1.36 per 1,000 residents to the disease. Petah Tikva has suffered 1.1 deaths per 1,000 residents.

Tel Aviv, the country’s second largest city – ranking 8 – registered some 384 victims out of a population of 464,000 – or 0.82 per 1,000 residents.

Some 3,434 people who died were from an area ranked from 1 to 4 (medium or lower medium), and another 4,148 were from areas ranked from 5 to 9.