Israel will partially re-open its skies for citizens to leave and enter after an unprecedented closure which has lasted nearly six weeks.This will allow a greater number of Israelis to return to the country in time to vote in the general election on March 23.
Transport Minister Miri Regev announced that starting Sunday, March 7, up to 1,000 passengers will be allowed to enter Israel’s main Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv each day. One week later the number will increase to 3,000 passengers allowed to enter per day from all entry points.
All passengers will still be required to undergo tests before and after arriving. Those who cannot prove they have been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 will be required to either enter home quarantine wearing a new electronic tracking bracelet, or stay in state-run quarantine hotels.
Vaccinated Israelis will be allowed to leave the country to certain specific destinations, while unvaccinated Israelis will still have to apply for special permission to leave. Foreign nationals still need to apply for special permission to enter or leave the country.
Thousands of Israelis said they were stranded abroad or stuck in Israel after the government imposed a near total ban on entries and exits.
An exceptions committee, which was convened to hand out limited special permissions to enter or exit the country, has come under harsh scrutiny and accusations of mismanagement.
The government has also faced lawsuits, which claim the border closures would impede on Israeli citizens’ right to vote.