Israel planning to reopen for tourism as Bennett declares cautious victory

Foreigners may be able to visit as soon as November 1.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

The Israeli government is mulling a plan to reopen the country to tourism in November for the first time in a year and a half.

According to the plan being discussed by health and tourism officials, foreigners inoculated with a vaccine recognized by Israel’s Health Ministry and carrying their country’s Green Pass would be allowed to enter Israel on November 1.

Hebrew reports said that the Foreign Ministry is working to establish mutual recognition with the U.S. and other countries.

Earlier plans to reopen the country to tourism were nixed as cases of the Delta variant spiked in Israel and around the world.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office stated that “the government strategy, according to which the economy is staying open and the government is taking a series of actions in order to forestall imposing a lockdown and sweeping restrictions, is working, hence the success in managing the fourth wave.”

“Friends, the news is good. We have started to block the Delta strain,” declared a cautiously optimistic Bennett.

Over 1,300 Israelis have died of the virus since Bennett became prime minister.

The coronavirus cabinet also lifted restrictions on Israelis traveling to countries classified as “red” for high incidents of COVID. Israelis are no longer banned from traveling to any country due to COVID restrictions, though there are travel warnings for Romania and Serbia.

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The coronavirus cabinet also decided that enforcement of new Green Passes will begin on Thursday. Two million Green Passes were voided and their QR codes deactivated on Sunday as new guidelines for immunization took effect. The Health Ministry’s web site crashed as people tried to download new Passes. To crack down on fake Green Passes, venues will be required to scan QR codes with a special Health Ministry app.

The coronavirus cabinet was also updated on vaccination rates in the Arab sector. The vast majority of Israel’s “Red Cities” with high infection rates are Arab, and about 40 percent of patients are from the Arab sector, representing twice their number in the general population. The vaccination rate in the Arab sector is comparably low.

According to the latest Health Ministry figures, Israel is dealing with 38,088 active COVID cases, of which 564 are considered serious. So far, 3,542,423 Israelis have received their third vaccine.

Overall, 7,827 Israelis have died of COVID.

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TPS News contributed to this report.