By Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman, Jpost—
On March 18, the Israeli government closed its borders to all foreigners in an effort to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
In mid-April, the first time the Health Ministry reported on the main ways that Israelis got sick from from SARS-CoV-2, nearly 20% of infections had started from abroad – the majority from North America or Europe.
However, as the number of active coronavirus cases in Israel has decreased, so too have restrictions, including on foreigners wishing to enter the country.
The following people can enter Israel, according to the Interior Ministry:
> Foreigners who live most of the time in Israel and can prove it. This would include people who rent and own apartments and were in Israel consistently until the outbreak of coronavirus, or who were here during the oubtreak but had to leave for another reason and now wish to return.
> Foreign athletes who are training in Israel or with Israeli athletes.
> Students who were learning in the country full-time and stopped with the outbreak. This includes university, seminary, yeshiva and one-year-program participants.
> Foreign workers and aides who went on vacation before March 18 and then found themselves unable to return (around 400 people).
> First-degree relatives of people getting married or being buried.
A spokesperson for the Interior Ministry said that all foreigners wishing to obtain permission to enter Israel must contact their local consulate for approval.
She noted that exceptions can be made in unique circumstances, such as if there is a bride whose mother passed away and would like a woman she considers her mother – although not biologically – to attend. Another exception might be grandchildren who want to visit a sick and elderly grandparent before he or she passes.
Regarding entering 14-days of quarantine: Currently, any person entering the country is required to self-isolate for two weeks. However, in the cases of wedding and funerals, when visitors are only expected to fly in and then out for a very short window, this isolation might be waived. Travelers should consult with their consulate.
The spokesperson stressed that every decision made by the Interior Ministry is done in consultation with the Health Ministry.
“The situation is dynamic,” she said, but noted that tourists will be the last to get permission to enter.
Earlier this week, a senior official with Ben-Gurion Airport said that Israel is unlikely to open the country to foreign travelers in any significant number before at least mid-July.