Nov 28, 2021

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On Thursday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and the Health and Tourism ministries approved a plan that would permit vaccinated and COVID recovered tourists into the country starting November 1. The plan must still be approved by the government and the Prime Minister’s Office said that it may be revised “in accordance with the development and identification of new variants.”

The plan would permit tourists who have received full doses of the  Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac or Sinopharm vaccines within the last six months. This excludes the Russian Sputnik vaccine. Individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine are eligible to enter if at least seven and no more than 180 days have passed since receiving the second dose. For those who received the other vaccines, at least 14 and no more than 180 days must have passed since receiving the second dose.

Recovered individuals who can prove they tested positive at least 11 and no more than 180 days prior to entering Israel are also eligible to enter. If more than six months have passed and these individuals receive a booster, they can also enter the country.

Travelers will be required to take a PCR test within 72 hours of boarding the plane and upon arrival. They will also be required to stay in isolation until the results of the test come back negative or 24 hours have passed. A serological test proving vaccination status will not be required.

Travelers will have to fill out a Health Ministry declaration form 48 hours before their flight. Part of the form will include entering one’s flight information, the location where the individual will isolate for up to 24 hours, and their vaccination or recovery certificate. Recovered people will also need to submit a copy of their PCR positive test results to the Health Ministry website. A validation email should be issued within a few minutes of filing and needs to be shown at the airport. Travelers who fulfill these requirements will be issued a Green Pass upon entering the country which will enable them to enter restaurants, cafes, and other places of leisure where this pass is required during the duration of their stay.

The allowances for tourist groups will also be expanded on November 1. According to the newly submitted plan, up to 2,000 travelers approved by the Tourism Ministry can enter the country every day. None of the group members could have been in a “red” country with high infection rates within 14 days of coming to Israel. The tourist groups will function as “capsules,” meaning that members of the group can only be in contact with other people in their group. They will not have free time to tour the country separately from the group. Tour groups will be restricted in areas where there is an increased risk of infection.

As of last month, Israel recognizes the European Union’s digital COVID and Green Pass certificates. This recognition involving about 40 countries is mutual.

First-degree relatives of people living in Israel will likely be able to enter the country, even if they do not qualify, for humanitarian reasons, such as funerals and weddings, the Health Ministry said.

Children under the age of 12, who are currently not eligible to be vaccinated, will not be able to enter Israel unless they have recovered from the virus within the last six months.

The border has been effectively closed to tourism since last March. Concerns have increased recently as several cases of the AY4.2 coronavirus variant have been discovered in Israel over the past few days.