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Israel Reopens Borders For Tourism To All Countries

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Israel Reopens Its Borders

From January 9th, 2022, Israel has decided to reopen tourism from all countries, including travelers from the United States. The rules will go into effect on Sunday and will enable fully vaccinated and fully recovered travelers to enter if they meet pre-departure and post-arrival testing requirements. 

Israel cracked down on international travel following the emergence of the Omicron variant. However, Israel has enforced strict border restrictions for most of the COVID-19 pandemic. They issued a ban on all international travelers on November 28, 2021. 

dome of the rock Israel

“The decision to remove all remaining countries from the red list is the right thing to do, since this designation cut off Diaspora Jews from Israel, as well as many others with deep ties to the country, at a time when the local spread of the Omicron variant is so high that the rationale for the entry restrictions no longer exists,” said Diaspora Affairs Ministry Nachman Shai.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Israel attracted just under 5 million visitors per year. However, that number dropped to 851 in 2020. 

Israel’s Entry-List System 

Israel currently operates a color-graded country list with a yellow list, orange list, and red list. Currently, there are no nations on the red list. They just removed 8 nations—namely Ethiopia, Mexico, Switzerland, Tanzania, Turkey, UAE, the U.K, and the U.S.—from the red list. Israel banned entry to all travelers from the red list countries last year. 

However, from January 9th, 2022, all travelers from red list countries can still enter Israel. Israel’s Ministry said in a statement, “The Ministry of Health recommends to the government to remove at this stage all countries from the red list.”  

Israel’s Ministry of Health announced yesterday on Twitter, “Starting tonight (Thursday to Friday, midnight 07.01.2022), all countries will be removed from the list of red countries, subject to the approval of the Government and the Knesset’s Constitution Committee,”

Israel's New Entry Requirements 

Starting from January 9th, 2022:

  • Fully vaccinated travelers can enter Israel if they have received the full series of vaccinations approved by the WHO (World Health Organization). For example, two doses of Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Pfizer. Alternatively, travelers can enter if they’ve received one dose of Johnson & Johnson. If six months have passed since the last vaccine doses, travelers will require a booster shot taken at least 14 days before entry. 
  • Israel requires travelers to take a PCR test no more than 72 hours before an outbound flight or a rapid antigen test no more than 48 hours before their flight (but a professional must administer it.) Moreover, Israel requires a health form filled out 48 hours before departure. 
  • Upon arrival, travelers must take a PCR test and quarantine until their results have returned. That could take up to 24 hours depending on arrival time. 
  • Travelers who’ve successfully recovered from COVID-19 can enter the country if they show proof of a positive NAAT test taken at least 11 days prior to arrival, or if they’ve received one vaccine dose from a WHO-approved vaccine. 

But What’s The Current COVID-19 Situation In Israel? 

Israel is currently—like most of the world—amid a fourth wave. The current 7-day case average is 9,772; that’s a sharp increase from the 7-day case average of 590 in mid-December. That said, Israel has one of the highest vaccination rates worldwide. The nation has fully vaccinated 64.65% of its population. 

Israel operates a color-graded system for restrictions within the country: red locality, orange locality, yellow locality, and green locality. Tel Aviv is currently an orange locality. Therefore, there are restrictions in place to combat the spread of COVID-19. This includes mask-wearing in public spaces and social distancing. You can find out more about the color-grade system for wherever you’re traveling to in Israel here. 

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