Who Can Enter Israel During COVID Lockdown? Haaretz Explains

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Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein at Ben Gurion airport, Israel
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein at Ben Gurion airport, IsraelCredit: POOL/ REUTERS

Since the government halted passenger flights in and out of Ben-Gurion International Airport last week due to surging coronavirus infection rates, thousands of Israelis around the world have been stuck, looking to get home. On Monday, a week later, the government drafted criteria for who will be given permission to return.

Israelis who meet the criteria and have tested negative for the coronavirus in the previous 72 hours will be allowed to return, and will need to commit in advance to spending at least 10 days at a government-run quarantine facility, according to the Health Ministry’s criteria.

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The criteria were drafted by Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz after taking into account representatives of the other ministries. The cabinet appointed Steinitz head of the exceptions committee on Monday.

Israelis stuck abroad can apply for an exception if they meet the following criteria: They have an extremely urgent medical appointment that cannot be delayed; an immediate family member has died and they have a funeral to attend, or a family member has been injured and is hospitalized; the Israeli abroad is considered an essential worker at a job considered essential for keeping the country running, and they cannot work remotely or postpone work; they are part of a government delegation, or a government company delegation, returning from a brief trip abroad, or the Israeli went abroad to serve as an official Israeli representative in another capacity.

Israelis who meet these criteria will need to explain the humanitarian case behind their situation and submit documents to prove it. The cases will be reviewed by a panel led by Steinitz. The panel is also permitted to hear similarly urgent cases that do not meet the above conditions.

The criteria do not help many Israelis stranded abroad, who have no idea when they’ll be able to return to their homes, their jobs and their routine.

On Tuesday Israir is scheduled to run a flight to and from Frankfurt to pick up 150 Israelis who receive the panel’s permission to reenter the country. A similar number will also be permitted to leave on the outbound flight.

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