U.S. Bans Troops From Visiting Israel, Middle East

American soldiers were forbidden from traveling to Israel and other Middle Eastern countries in September in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, The Times of Israel reports

new-hdc-logo
Haaretz
U.S. Army Paratroopers deploy from Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina in 2020
U.S. Army Paratroopers deploy from Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina in 2020Credit: CAPT. ROBYN HAAKE / US ARMY / AF
new-hdc-logo
Haaretz

American soldiers were barred from traveling to Israel and the wider Middle East last September under a new policy meant to stem the spread of COVID-19, says the U.S. Army.

According to the Times of Israel, the United States Central Command issued its new regulation on September 8, 2021, a week after Israel was transferred to the command's official area of responsibility. It prohibited service members from “unofficial travel” to a list of countries including, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Lebanon. There has been no update to the policy since it was implemented, the Times notes.

A prior version of the regulation only banned travel to Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria or Yemen, the Times reported, noting that while soldiers retain the option to appeal to senior commanders for an exemption from the new restrictions, such approval is unlikely.

“The changes… to Central Command Regulation (CCR) 55-2, were implemented in direct response to heightened COVID-19 restrictions throughout our area of responsibility," U.S. Central Command Spokesperson LTC Karen Roxberry told the Times.

“Any correlation between the Defense Department’s announcement of Israel’s realignment to U.S. Central Command’s responsibility in September 2021 is purely coincidental,” she added.

The Times noted that the countries in other commands' areas of responsibility had higher COVID case rates, and that these commands were not barring travel to their constituent countries.

“We haven’t heard about this,” a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry said when shown the Times report, telling Haaretz that the U.S. had not notified Israel of this new policy.

The Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson Unit did not have an immediate reply to whether they had been informed of the change, but said that they would look into the matter.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

$1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

Protesters demonstrating in front of the consulate general of Israel in New York last year.

Huge Gap Between Young, Old Americans' View on Israel-Palestine

Rep. Henry Cuellar attends a campaign event on Wednesday, in San Antonio, Texas.

AIPAC-backed Dem Declares Victory Against Progressive Challenger in Texas Runoff

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Atomic Energy Organization of Iran chief Mohammad Eslami at an event for Nuclear Technology Day in Tehran, last month.

Prospects for Reviving Iran Nuclear Deal 'Tenuous' at Best, U.S. Envoy Says

A family grieves outside the SSGT Willie de Leon Civic Center following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Wednesday.

Israeli PM Offers Condolences After Texas Gunman Kills 21 at Elementary School

U.S. President Joe Biden, this week.

Biden Decides to Keep Iran's Revolutionary Guards on Terror List, Says Report

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.

Progressive Jews Urge ADL Chief to Apologize for Calling Out Democratic Activist