It was reported today by The Jerusalem Post that Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett declared that Israel would soon begin inviting international visitors of all ages, regardless of whether or not they have received vaccinations.
The production of a negative PCR test obtained within 72 hours of their departure for Israel, as well as a second PCR test upon arrival, will continue to be needed for international visitors to Israel. According to reports, the policy change will take effect on March 1.
According to the new laws, existing isolation methods for unvaccinated Israeli nationals who re-enter the country would be phased out, providing they show a negative PCR test upon entrance. Also included are provisions that will enable Israelis to avoid antigen or polymerase chain reaction testing before to boarding their aircraft, with the sole need being a polymerase chain reaction test upon arrival in Israel.
The decision was announced after the conclusion of a meeting between Bennett, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov, and other officials, during which authorities discussed a framework for reducing COVID-19 limitations.
After years of steady decline in morbidity data, Bennett said it was time to gradually reopen a door that had been closed for more than a decade. “We are seeing a constant decline in morbidity data, so it is time to gradually open up that which we were the first in the world to close,” Bennett said during Sunday’s meeting. “It is vital to open up when the situation improves, and the situation has greatly improved, in order to retain the public’s confidence and guarantee that the residents of Israel follow the rules and choices that the government takes.”
“The situation in Israel is favorable at the moment,” he went on to say. It is the outcome of effective and dynamic management, which is also the reason for our decision to open up today. At the same time, we’ll keep our fingers on the pulse, and if a new variety emerges, we’ll be ready to react promptly once again.”
Israel’s Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai expressed his appreciation for the decision, saying, “It is a very welcome gesture that will assist families from all over the globe in reuniting with their loved ones in Israel.” In a letter sent to Prime Minister Bennett last week, I recommended that Israel allow unvaccinated children into the country in order to allow families to reunite, particularly ahead of the Passover holiday, which is such a critical time for families to be together, and the upcoming Purim celebrations.
Dov Lipman, a former Member of Knesset and current CEO of the non-profit organization Yad L’Olim, applauded the government for deciding to fully reopen the country to international tourists for the first time since the pandemic struck and borders were sealed in March 2020, despite opposition from the Jewish community.
According to him, “we have been inundated with tens of thousands of individuals who want to enter Israel but do not meet the requirements,” according to the laws. Following two really arduous years, they only want to access the Holy Land. I’ve been sharing these messages with our leaders and advocating for them to take action. “I can actually sense the collective sigh of relief flowing from all around the globe as a result of today’s statement.”