Published on : Friday, June 11, 2021
Israel may ease entry restrictions for foreign visitors who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus from the beginning of next month, allowing regular tourists traveling outside organized groups to enter the country for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
International travel to Israel has been greatly limited, due to lockdown restrictions imposed to prevent COVID-19 strains from reaching the country. At times, Israel’s borders were entirely shut to foreigners. Tourists cannot currently travel to the country unless visiting a first-degree relative, and then under restrictive conditions.
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri sent a letter Thursday to Border Authority Director-General ShlomoMor-Yosef telling him that he had consulted with the Health Ministry Yuli Edelstein, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, and professional teams from various ministries on the matter.
As a result, a decision was taken to allow vaccinated visitors from a list of countries that is yet to be determined by the Health Ministry “to enter Israel with a shortened process that will be put together in the coming days.”
He did not explain what the “shortened process” would involve.
Deri told Mor-Yosef that in light of the COVID-19 vaccination programs in other countries, “there is room to broaden the easing of entry to Israel for foreigners and to change the existing methods of approval that put an enormous load on Israel’s representatives abroad and on the Immigration and Population Authority in the country.”
Deri wrote that the target date to start the pilot would be July 1.
Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen welcomed the move, tweeting that “it is about time that Israel opens up to tourism and takes advantage of being a vaccinated country for the benefit of its economy.”
Farkash-Hacohen said that the changes would apply to individual tourists, rather than groups.