‘Moral disgrace’: Jewish leaders abroad furious at Israel for closing its borders

Bennett tried to assure Diaspora Jews that Israel would open its borders quickly.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

In a briefing for Jewish Diaspora leaders, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett tried to assure them that Israel would open its borders “as quickly as possible.”

But officials angered by Israeli travel restrictions in response to a spike in Omicron cases said they weren’t satisfied.

“The topic of Diaspora Jews is very important to me,” Bennett said in the briefing, the Jerusalem Post reported. “It is very close to my heart, and we will do everything to bring things back on track as quickly as possible.”

Last week, the U.S., Canada and more than 50 other countries were added to Israel’s list of red countries that citizens and residents are banned from travelling to and from. The list already includes Britain, France and the United Arab Emirates.

The Prime Minister reportedly told the participants in the briefing that he has been trying to balance the need to keep Israeli economy open without allowing too many cases of Omicron in. But Bennett did not offer any solutions or suggest any new policies to mollify the Jewish leaders.

“The State of Israel has a contract with the Diaspora, wherein Israel is a place of refuge for us, where there is a safety net that exists for all of us,” the Post quoted William Daroff, CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Organizations. “That contract has been suspended.”

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The Post also quoted South African Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein who said that closing the borders was a “moral disgrace.”

The rabbi characterized the situation as Israel telling Diaspora Jews, “You are not part of us; we are not part of you.”

Across the U.S., people waited in long lines to best tested for COVID, with many waiting for several hours. Testing centers were closed during Christmas, while millions of Americans traveled to spend the holiday with family. According to the Center for Disease Control, the U.S. surpassed 50 million cases in December.

According to the Ministry of Health, Israel is dealing with 15,487 active cases of coronavirus.