Published On: Wed, Jun 23rd, 2021

Israel Postpones Entry of Vaccinated Foreign Tourists Until August

Prime Minister Naftali Bennet made the announcement earlier today.

Ben Gurion Airport Departures Area (Wikipedia)

New Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet is facing his first major crisis and it concerns a resurgence in the Coronavirus. Now even vaccinated foreign tourists will need to wait until at least August 1st to enter Israel. The Israeli government took the drastic decision to delay the reopening of the country to tourism by another month because of recent spikes in the numbers of cases of people infected with Covid variants.

The decision was made after an emergency special meeting was held Wednesday afternoon between which included Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz and other senior Israeli officials.

There have now been two different serious Coronavirus outbreaks in Israel in recent days centered in the towns of Modiin and Binyamina. Schools have been hit especially hard with 253 students and 25 teachers reportedly ill with coronavirus. The country has seen daily positive Coronavirus test results climb to above the 100 mark. For these reasons, and more, the Israeli government decided to postpone the country’s reopening which it had hoped to hold on July 1st. There are still some exceptions, however, including students coming into the country to learn in recognized schools and programs.

While not imposing any new legal restrictions, Prime Minister Bennet has called on Israelis not to go abroad on any unnecessary trips, such as family vacations. But Israeli media reports that in spite of the Prime Minister’s calls Israeli are heading off to foreign destinations in growing numbers. And since the school year is now ending those numbers are expected to continue to increase.

The Israeli government has also reconstituted its inner Coronavirus cabinet. The Covid cabinet will include the main coalition leaders such as Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Defense Minister Benny Gantz Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman and Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar.

In a press release Prime Minister Naftali Bennet called on all Israeli to get vaccinated saying, “All scientific indicators in Israel and the world show that the danger from the disease is immeasurably higher than the risk from the vaccine. There is much ‘fake news’ but we are dealing in science, in facts. In the US, approximately 2-2.5 million children have already been vaccinated and we have not seen large-scale side effects. I can tell you, as the father of children this age, I am taking my children to be vaccinated. The Interior Minister has updated me that her children have already been vaccinated.”

The Israeli government has also implemented new measures such as requiring full testing for all people entering the country and the wearing of masks at all time while in Ben Gurion International airport. And Prime Minister Bennet is also asking all Israelis to go back to wearing masks indoors; although, he has not made this obligatory. Israel only recently ended its indoor mask mandates.

Prime Minister Bennet concluded his statement by calling on all people to use common sense. “We do not want to return to the days of general lockdown or lockdowns on cities. We can avoid this,” said the Prime Minister. “It depends on you alone. If we all look at the bigger picture and think, we will understand that poor behavior on our part will hurt others. We can defeat the coronavirus without draconian measures.”

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