The Foreign Ministry told all Israelis overseas to return immediately.
By World Israel News Staff
Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday urged all Israelis to return to the country immediately, suggesting that Israel may close its borders entirely in its escalating fight to battle the coronavirus.
“In light of the reduction and cancellation of flights around the world and the decision of countries to close their skies and borders due to the outbreak of the Corona epidemic, we are again calling on Israelis abroad who wish to return to Israel to do so as soon as possible,” the ministry tweeted.
A statement on the ministry website acknowledged that “there is a great deal of difficulty in getting tickets for flights, and that sometimes the routes are inconvenient,” but reminded Israelis that there are still flights available even if the routes home might not be convenient.
Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport that handles more than 90 percent of the country’s international air traffic remains open, but with a majority of incoming and outgoing flights canceled.
International travel has been drastically reduced to prevent the spread of the pandemic, and last week the Israel Airports Authority laid off 70 percent of the airport workforce and shut down more than half of the vast international flights terminal.
Israel’s El Al national airline was also forced to put 80 percent of its staff on unpaid leave, and over 6,000 flights to and from Israel have already been canceled.
In related news, the foreign ministry helped charter four El Al planes to bring about 800 stranded Israeli tourists home from Peru in advance of that country closing off its borders due to coronavirus.