On Thursday, August 13, in a joint statement, the Health, Foreign and Transportation Ministries announced that the so-called ‘Opening of Israel’s Skies’ will begin on August 16.
In truth, this is a misnomer. Israel’s borders will essentially remain closed to foreigners, other than those with entry permits, such as students or those coming for deaths/emergencies. What then does the plan actually involve?
- A limited number of Israelis will be allowed to visit a group of Greece islands.
- Israelis will be allowed to enter Bulgaria, Croatia and Slovenia.
- Israelis will be allowed to enter Israel from ‘Green countries’ without the need to quarantine. (See Green countries below)
As most Chaim V’Chessed clients are unlikely to be flying to Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia and Slovenia, the first two points are not of particular significance. The last point, however, has aroused great interest. As with most new government policies, it has also created considerable confusion. Within minutes of the announcement, Chaim V’Chessed reached out to Health Ministry officials for clarifications on the new rules. The shocking answers to many of our questions were: We don’t know- we hope to publish directions soon!
Subsequently, this morning, the government published rules for the new policies, which answer some, though not all of our questions. The rules can be seen here, in Hebrew.
Below are some of the issues which we raised, and some of the tentative answers which we were eventually able to obtain.
Will these rules apply to non-Israelis, as well? There were those who understood that foreign tourist from Green countries will be allowed to enter Israel. At this point, this is not true. The new rules simply allow Israelis returning from those countries to avoid quarantine.
How about permitted foreigners, such as those coming for weddings, births or medical circumstances? Our sources have indicated that such permitted visitors will be treated the same as Israelis, and will be exempt if arriving from Green countries.
Will students arriving from Green countries be exempt from quarantine? This is currently being discussed by government officials; there is no clear answer yet. At this point, students from Green countries should not assume that that they will be exempt. (See August 16 update here)
Will those travelling from other countries thru Green countries be exempt from quarantine? Even those arriving from Green countries will be required to quarantine if they were in a Red country in the 14 days prior to their arrival in Israel.
Will quarantine end for those who’ve already arrived from Green countries? We have reached out to Health Ministry officials to inquire if those who have arrived in recent days from Green countries will be allowed to conclude their quarantine when the new rules take effect. We await their response, and will publish it when it becomes available.
BEAR IN MIND THAT RULES ARE CONSTANTLY CHANGING AND BEING UPDATED.
There are currently 21 Green countries, including the countries listed below. For up to the moment listings of Green or Red countries, click here:
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand