Israelis forced into quarantine hotel make getaway during bus stop

Israelis returning from abroad attempted to escape quarantine by making a run for it.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Israelis returning from abroad who were on their way to mandatory quarantine tricked their bus driver to open the doors before they arrived at the government-appropriated hotel and fled to avoid the forced isolation, Walla News reported Tuesday.

The passengers, landing Tuesday morning at Ben Gurion Airport and on their way to isolation at the Grand Court Hotel in Jerusalem, fled when the driver, who apparently was not familiar with the area, stopped the bus a few dozen meters away from the entrance and opened the doors.

According to a hotel employee, only 12 of the expected 21 passengers arrived for quarantine at the facility that is under the control of the IDF’s Home Front Command. The incident was reported to the police who later announced that they had fined 13 people. The standard fine for not complying with mandatory quarantine is 10,000 shekels ($3ת100).

Ben Gurion International Airport, along with Ramon Airport near Eilat, remain closed except for special flights pre-approved first by a Health Ministry committee. All arriving passengers are subject to a mandatory 14-day stay in specific hotels requisitioned by the government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Last month, police arrested five Israelis who rioted in the lobby of Jerusalem’s Dan Panorama Hotel and caused extensive damage to property, angry about being forced to stay in the hotel instead of at home.

A passenger, Oren, told Walla that the bus from the airport was almost full and most were not wearing masks. When they got to Jerusalem the driver appeared to not know which street to take and some of the passengers told him to stop short of the hotel.

“Something like 5-to-10 people just took their bags and just ran away. No one chased them,” Oren said.

An employee at a nearby hotel who saw the incident said he immediately called the army and saw a police car coming

“The problem is that the driver dropped them off on the road and some fled… I said to him ‘What are you doing? You can’t let them out, you need to get permission from the [army] commander,'” the hotel employee said.