Israel's Government Set to Charge for Quarantine in COVID Hotels

Bennett decides to follow the lead of other countries in dropping the subsidy for quarantine hotels, after sucking up half a billion shekels since COVID struck the country

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People line up for COVId testing at Ben Gurion International Airport in Novemeber
People line up for COVId testing at Ben Gurion International Airport in NovemeberCredit: Emil Salman
Avi Bar-Eli
Avi Bar-Eli

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's government is advancing a law to charge people to check in to COVID hotels, in which many arrivals are mandated to quarantine, after spending almost half a billion shekels since the onset of the pandemic.

The amendment was submitted to the legislative committee by Bennett and Health Minister Horowitz on Sunday, and will shift the cost of the hotel stay away from the government and onto the travelers.

Credit: Israel Health Ministry

The state will form a set of criteria for partial or full government aide for coverage, which will include socio-economic considerations.

According to estimates turning hotels into coronavirus hotels has so far cost 500 million shekels – and granted hotel owners compensation following their income drop due to the lack of tourists.

The Dan Hotel chain, for example, which is owned by businessman Michael Federmann, enjoyed 100 million shekels from the state budget so far.

Currently, unvaccinated people are required to stay in a quarantine hotel until an initial negative COVID test, and only then are they able to quarantine from home, if they live alone.

All returnees from so-called 'red countries,' to and from which travel is forbidden unless an exception is granted by a committee, must also agree to government tracking in order to be allowed to avoid hotel quarantines.

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