Updated February 10, 2021 7:18 PM IST
Earlier this week, Israel set new rules and limitations on entry to the country. All travelers, Israeli or foreign, must receive advance permission to enter the country from a Vaadat Charigim (Exceptions Committee). Various criteria were established for permitted entry to Israel, detailed here.
Five days after its establishment, the committee has been an abject failure. Thousands of Israelis abroad have appealed for permission to return home, but only a handful have been approved. Chaim V’Chessed has learned that the government is limiting the number of permits to no more than 600 each day. Due to this limitation, only truly unusual or emergency requests are being approved. Regular Israelis who find themselves abroad are not being granted permission to return home, despite clear government statements that they would be allowed.
Chaim V’Chessed has been especially inundated with requests from foreign residents of Israel who are currently abroad. Many of these residents actually have emergency circumstances which require immediate return to Israel, such as: medical situations, children alone in Israel, impending births, etc. To our disappointment, we have been informed that requests from non-Israelis are absolutely not being considered at this time, regardless of the circumstances.
At the same time, we have been dismayed to learn that Israel plans to allow many foreigners into the country next week – for a sporting event. Up to 900 wrestlers from 70 countries are expected to be allowed into the country to participate in an international wrestling competition. There appears to be a concerted effort to limit media coverage of the fact that while Israeli residents continue to be barred from returning home, the government will actually allow outsiders to enter the country.
In talks with government officials, Chaim V’Chessed representatives vociferously protested this bizarre decision. Chaim V’Chessed CEO Paysach Freedman, told Transportation Ministry officials that it is appalling that foreign mothers of young children are barred from returning home, while foreign athletes are permitted to enter the country.
In a related topic, we continue to lobby for additional flights to/from the United States. Sources tell Chaim V’Chessed that El Al will announce additional flights in the coming hours. Follow www.chaimvchessed.com for further details.
UPDATE: El Al’s application for a Thursday flight to USA was rejected. They are now attempting to obtain permission for a Saturday night flight.