As we reported yesterday, on May 15, the Foreign Ministry altered the process for foreign students wishing to enter Israel. Unfortunately, this change has effectively brought entry permit issuance to Israel to a halt.
The government directed students not to apply themselves, but rather, their institutions must apply on their behalf. While this sounds reasonable, one detail is preventing this from working. The Foreign Ministry is processing these requests. Before the Foreign Ministry will accept any application from a school/yeshiva, the institution must obtain a certification from the Heath Ministry. However, the Health Ministry changed leadership two days ago., and answers are difficult, or impossible to obtain. For the past 48 hours, Chaim V’Chessed has been seeking to learn how institutions may receive this certification- to no avail!
As long as this requirement remains in place, and the Health Ministry is not granting certification to schools, noone can obtain permission to enter Israel.
Separately, it is our opinion that student visa families, whose center of life is in Israel, should be permitted to apply directly for permission, regardless of their school’s status. This is because such families have their center of life in Israel, and should be regarded as toshavim, residents of Israel. Yet, at this point, the authorities are not willing to accept individual applications, even from families who reside in Israel.
We have been in constant dialogue with government officials this entire week. Senior officials have taken up the cause of families prevented from returning to their homes in Israel, and have promised us an overhaul of the rules, shortly.
Naturally, we will issue an update as soon as this happens.