Plan Allowing Vaccinated Tourists Into Israel to Be Approved Next Week, Minister Says

In the first phase, Israel would allow organized groups to enter, and then individual tourists at a later date, tourism minister says

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People on vacation in the Sea of Galilee, last year.
People on vacation in the Sea of Galilee, last year.Credit: Gil Eliahu

A plan that will permit vaccinated tourists back into Israel will be finalized within a week, Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen announced on Wednesday.

In a post on Twitter, she said her goal was to reach an agreement on the details with the relevant Health Ministry officials over the coming week. In the first phase, she said, Israel would allow in organized groups, and at a later phases, individual tourists.

“It is high time, considering that we are a vaccinated country, that we help rehabilitate Israel’s economy and tourism industry, rather than those of other countries,” she tweeted.

Orit Farkash-Hacohen, in 2019.Credit: Yanai Yechiel

On Wednesday, Israel began allowing select groups of non-residents who have relatives here into the country. Overseas visitors will be required to obtain approval in advance to fly to Israel from either the Interior Ministry or their local Israeli consulate.

All non-citizens or non-residents, even if they have been vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival (or 10 days if they agree to undergo two additional PCR tests after landing).

They will also need to test negative for the coronavirus within 72 hours of boarding their flight, and once again upon landing. Furthermore, they will not be allowed to fly to Israel without health insurance that covers medical treatment for the coronavirus.

Since Israel entered its first lockdown in March 2020, non-residents – with rare exceptions – have not been allowed into the country. In late January, as part of the third lockdown, even Israeli citizens were prevented from entering. However, that particular restriction was lifted a few weeks ago.

According to regulations published by the Interior Ministry on Tuesday, all non-citizens who are able to prove they have first-degree relatives in Israel will be allowed to travel to the country and can bring their spouses and children along, provided they have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19. Babies under a year old will be exempt from this requirement.

However, in order to obtain flight approval from either the Population Registry at the Interior Ministry or their local consulate, they will be required to submit notarized documents providing proof of their relations in Israel.

The following groups of non-citizens will also be allowed to travel to Israel even if they have not been vaccinated or have not recovered from the virus, unless otherwise stated:

* Spouses and children of Israeli citizens, as well as parents of Israeli children who are minors.

* Foreign exchange students who had already begun their study programs in Israel, yeshiva students and participants in Masa – an organization that runs hundreds of educational, volunteer and internship programs in Israel for young Jewish adults.

* Foreign experts, businesspeople and caretakers.

* Artists, performers and athletes.

* Volunteers in social services and agriculture.

* Parents of a bride or groom planning to wed in Israel (other first-degree relatives will either have to be vaccinated or have recovered from the coronavirus).

* First-degree relatives of someone holding a bar- or bat-mitzvah celebration in Israel (provided they have been vaccinated or have recovered from the coronavirus).

* First-degree relatives of a couple expecting a child (provided they have been vaccinated or have recovered from the coronavirus).

* First-degree relatives of a person being buried in Israel.

* First-degree relatives, as well as partners, of “lone soldiers” – young men and women serving in the army whose families live abroad.

* Clergy, diplomats and foreign correspondents.

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