Israeli Military to Call Up Only Vaccinated, Recovered Reservists as COVID Cases Rise

Yaniv Kubovich
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An Israeli soldier receives a COVID-19 vaccine, February.
An Israeli soldier receives a COVID-19 vaccine, February. Credit: AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov
Yaniv Kubovich

The Israeli military will only call up reservists who have been vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 for operations or training, according to a new directive issued on Saturday, as cases continue to rise both nationwide and in the army.

Last week, 160 soldiers in compulsory service were diagnosed with the virus, and 1,167 soldiers are now in quarantine.

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Reservists reporting for duty will have to present proof of immunity when they arrive at the base, and in some cases will also have to take a coronavirus test. In case reservists have not been fully vaccinated, they would be allowed to enter the base only if authorized by an officer with the rank of brigadier general or above.

The call-up of a group of reservists that includes some who have not been fully vaccinated will require authorization by the medical officer in the appropriate regional command.

The military has also updated its masking and social distancing rules on its bases. Following new regulations issued for Israelis by the Health Ministry, the military now requires soldiers to wear a mask outdoors in gatherings of more than 100 people, and in any other gathering at the commander’s discretion. Indoor gatherings will be restricted to 100 people, and room dividers will be placed in large dining rooms.

Renewed restrictions went into effect throughout the country on Sunday, requiring proof of immunity at certain locations and events regardless of the number of people. The only exceptions are houses of worship, where regulations will apply only when more than 50 people are present. According to the regulations, entry to events and either closed or open venues will be permitted only to someone who has been vaccinated, recovered, or who can present a negative test result.

Starting on Sunday, rapid coronavirus test results may be presented up to 24 hours before the event in question. Another possibility is to take a PCR swab test privately, no more than 72 hours before the event. These regulations currently apply only to those who are aged 12 and up. From August 20, they will also apply to children under age 12.

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