Only “urgent humanitarian cases” will be approved. The decision goes into effect next week.
By David Isaac, World Israel News
Only 200 people will be allowed into Israel each day. The decision was made after a Monday meeting that included Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Transportation Minister Miri Regev and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein.
Only “urgent humanitarian cases” will be approved for entry, they say.
The decision is in reaction to the cancellation of the requirement for returning travelers to stay in quarantine hotels. The chairman of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, MK Yaakov Asher of the Shas party, chose on Sunday to halt the requirement forcing travelers to isolate in hotels.
The quarantine hotels have proven unpopular, with cases of people smashing property within the hotels and attempting to make getaways. In one case, travelers on their way to a quarantine hotel tricked their driver into stopping before the hotel and then jumped out and ran for it.
The new 200 quota goes into effect next week. It will remain in effect “until a technological solution is found and/or quarantine in the hotels is restored,” according to a report of the meeting.
Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kish criticized the Knesset committee’s decision yesterday to extend by only 24 hours the hotel quarantine requirement. “The decision to close hotels is to open a gateway for mutations to enter,” Kish said.
Although Israel has vaccinated over 4 million of its 9 million population, the government remains cautious and continues to fear a break-out due to variants of the disease, even though studies have shown that the vaccines remain effective against such variants.
Prior to the decision, the plan had been for 2,000 Israelis to enter Israel daily following the reopening of the airport after Feb. 20. Those 2,000 required a special exemption after which they were required to enter a hotel for 10 days to two weeks.
The current situation is a far cry from Ben Gurion Airport’s heyday in 2019, the busiest year on record. More than 4.5 million tourists entered that year. On Aug. 15, 2019, a record was set when 115,000 people passed through the airport on a single day.