With Introduction from Talya Dishi
My parents watch the Israel news and I’m just watching with them and listening to astonishing news. The Israel airlines are shutting down. I heard the news about Bennet, the new head of Israel’s government. I heard that Bennet said that he wants them closed due to COVID but imagine tourists not coming in, it’s bad for business, and it’s kind of annoying that Bennet did this with his wife out of Israel.
On Sunday, November 29, 2021 Israel airlines shut down due to the new variant, omicron. The reason for that is that omicron is more transmissible, which means that it’s easier to spread and more people will get it. They had the idea of shutting down the airlines for two weeks, but the idea was approved on November 29th. It’s a good thing they did because by then two Israelis had already tested positive for omicron, a South African variant (so it was probably from traveling), and others were exposed and suspected of having it.
You are only allowed to fly into Israel if you are a Israeli citizen returning home, because they can’t not let people into their own houses. If you are a Israeli citizen, vaccinated or not, the same rules of flying into Israel apply to every citizen equally.
Here are the rules issued by Israel due to the Omicron variant. The first rule is that if you are traveling to Israel by plane you must fill out a few forms and have some documents in hand that are filled out. The first form is the incoming passenger form. You fill it out 36 hours before the flight and you have to bring in a printed version to board the flight. This form should include proof of you being vaccinated with an approved vaccine or a recovery certificate and receive approval to travel and board the flight. Instead, you could also enter proof of vaccination on the incoming passenger form and fill out an additional form for shortening isolation, where you should attach the vaccination confirmations, and receive a green pass before boarding the flight.
For the first and second document, you could choose what you want it to be. The first document should have either a negative result on a PCR test taken 72 hours before departure to Israel or a negative test result from a rapid Antigen test performed by a recognized lab, taken 24 hours before departure to Israel. Home testing kit results will not be accepted. Proof of a positive result on a PCR test taken between 3 months and 11 days before the flight or permission from the Exceptions Committee to enter Israel without taking a PCR test before departure.
For the second document you have a few choices. The first option is to include a certificate of vaccination attesting to your vaccination in accordance with the protocol set by Israel. The second option is to include a certificate showing that you have recovered from COVID-19 that is digitally verifiable by the Ministry of Health. The third option is a special entry permit. The fourth option is to show your Israeli Passport. That concludes the list of all the documents and forms you need to fill out in order to get into Israel.
The second rule talks about quarantine policies. The rule is that as soon as you arrive in Israel you have to take a COVID-19 PCR test at Ben Gurion airport and immediately go to your house to quarantine. If you’re vaccinated your quarantine only lasts three days and then you take a second PCR test. If you are unvaccinated, after you take your first PCR, your quarantine lasts fourteen days instead of three. After fourteen days you can take a second PCR. If you get a negative result from the second PCR then you are out of quarantine. If you decide not to take a second test, it results in a fine. However, if you are a Israeli entering the country but on Israel’s “Red Country list”, a place with high coronavirus infection rates, or omicron cases, you must take a PCR test at the airport and then immediately enter one of Israel’s quarantine hotels. If the PCR test from the airport is negative they can continue quarantining for seven days before taking a second PCR test. The overall rule is that, if your second test comes back negative you are out of quarantine.
The last rule talks about transportation. The rule is that when you arrive at the airport you cannot use public transportation to go to wherever you are staying in Israel. That way if you do have the virus, you don’t pass it on to other people, even before your quarantine. You are able to leave the airport with a private vehicle, family member, or a taxi. You can only use a taxi to leave the airport, but only according to the transportation ministry’s new rules. “The idea is that those in quarantine won’t be able to take public transportation from the airport,” Health Ministry Director General Nachman Ash told Army Radio. “Everyone will need to take a car or a taxi by themselves or with family.” When people are going to the airport for a flight leaving Israel it is different. If you are going to the airport for a departing flight, you are allowed to use public transportation. The reason for that is that you have been in the country for a while and you aren’t in quarantine anymore. If you are traveling from Eilat to Ben Gurion Airport, you will be taken on a shuttle to Tel Aviv’s Savidor train station, the Transportation Ministry said.
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