Health Min. revokes license of anti vax-coercion doctor, party head

The judge said that Aryeh Avni's actions pose a real danger to public health.

Dr. Arieh Avni, noted anti-vaccination coercion activist, is seen with the logo of his new "Rapeh" Party, which hopes to "heal" Israel's heathcare system. (photo credit: Courtesy)
Dr. Arieh Avni, noted anti-vaccination coercion activist, is seen with the logo of his new "Rapeh" Party, which hopes to "heal" Israel's heathcare system.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Israel's Health Ministry revoked the medical license Tuesday of (now former) Dr. Aryeh Avni, an anti vaccination-coercion doctor and current political candidate running as head of the Rapeh Party, according to Health Ministry statement.
The decision was made by retired judge Amnon Strashnov following a review of a report submitted to the medical community's disciplinary committee, which listed complaints and gave the recommendation to revoke Avni's license.
Avni runs a Facebook page called "The Right Medicine - Dr. Aryeh Avni," where he publishes articles on various topics.
Explaining the decision to revoke Avni's license, Strashnov said that his articles published on websites, YouTube, Facebook and elsewhere against the public immunization of the coronavirus pose a danger to public health. 
"This goes far beyond what is reasonable and permissible in the context of freedom of expression, which is an important and protected value in any democratic society - and you have a clear prescription for the complete anarchy that the recipient is trying to cause, while boasting the title of doctor," Strashnov said.
"I did not find any connection between the important value of freedom of expression, as the recipient claims, and the harsh and defamatory expressions he took - without any scientific or academic basis - and all from his fertile and unbridled imagination. The recipient and his peers will know that freedom of expression does not mean freedom of expression or contempt," he said.
"Accordingly, I adopt the committee's recommendation regarding the conviction of the defendant, as set forth in the report," the judge wrote.
Strashnov also criticized Avni's judgement in light of the death of more than 5,000 people from coronavirus and his unwillingness to accept scientific fact regarding the effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccines, which currently stands at above a 90% success rate.  
He also strongly criticized Avni's decision to continue attacking the vaccine's value and disregarding public health by disseminating his views in relation to the coronavirus.
"In the end, this is a person who is a 'stumbling block,' whose behavior poses a real danger to public safety and health, despite all the steps and warnings given to him, which have not been helpful. Although I do not err in the illusion that Avni will stop spreading his dangerous teachings, it is better for him to do so without any authority... which he does not deserve, in my eyes at all," the judge concluded.
Avni reacted to the loss of his medical license by recalling that the same judge was responsible for imprisoning Rabbi Uzi Meshulam after he exposed the taking of Yeminite Jewish children by the state during the 1950s.
He also added that the revocation was done to silence legitimate voices in the world of medicine against the vaccine, while also suggesting that his political party will diminish the Health Ministry's influence if it enters the Knesset.
Avni launched his political party at the beginning of this year, naming it Rapeh, which means heal in English.
He formerly served as a doctor with the Clalit health fund, but was fired for unknown reasons in 2000. Since then, he has been running a private, holistic medical clinic.
Avni told The Jerusalem Post in an interview, that the party would be composed of doctors, biologists, neuropathologists and other medical personnel and scientists interested in changing the country’s health system.
He stressed that while he has gotten the reputation in some circles for being anti-vaccination, he is not. Rather, he is opposed to methods that coerce or marginalize those individuals who choose not to get jabbed.
As such, he said he is against the Health Ministry’s green passport program that would give privileges to those who have received two doses of the coronavirus vaccine.
Avni is also an outspoken opponent of the methods used by the Health Ministry to handle the coronavirus pandemic. He said the ministry’s “ailments” peaked last year with the coronavirus crisis and “manifested in unbearable medical coercion and violation of human rights: lockdowns, social distancing, cellular tracking, green passports, masks, economic destruction and deceit.”
Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman contributed to this report.