With many vaccinated, Israel reopens economy before election

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel has reopened most of its economy as part of its final phase of lifting coronavirus lockdown measures imposed in recent months. Sunday’s easing of restrictions comes after months of shutdowns, and as the country has surged ahead with vaccinations since late December. Almost 40% of Israel’s population has received two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to be hoping that the return to normalcy will boost his re-election hopes in a tight race this month. At the same time that it has deployed vaccines to its own citizens, Israel has provided few vaccines for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, a move that has underscored global disparities.