New Exemptions for Entry to Israel for Family Simchas

A passengers at Ben Gurion Airport in May. (Flash90)

A new list of exemptions from the ban on non-Israelis entering the country during the coronavirus pandemic have been obtained from the Israeli Ministry of the Interior, allowing additional relatives to attend family simchas.

The exemptions were the result of sustained efforts on the part of Chaim V’Chessed, an organization dedicated to helping English-speakers navigate the Israeli bureaucracy, in cooperation with the staff of MK Rabbi Yisrael Eichler (United Torah Judaism) and others.

On Sunday night, the following additions to the exceptions were announced, including:

Births: Grandparents may enter Israel for the birth of a grandchild. They may enter the country a month prior to the expected birth, and remain for up to a month after the birth.

Bar/Bat Mitzva: Grandparents may enter Israel for the Bar/Bat Mitzva of a grandchild.

Weddings: Parents, grandparents and siblings of the chosson or kallah had already been allowed to enter for the wedding. However, spouses of siblings (i.e. brother/sister-in-laws) were not. Similarly, we frequently encountered situations where a sister was allowed to enter Israel, but her (nursing) baby was barred – hence making the trip untenable. The new rules allow for brother/sister-in-laws of the chosson or kallah to enter. Additionally, children under one year old may enter along with their parents.

All travelers to Israel need to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Furthermore, even in the permitted circumstances, one must still obtain permission to enter by emailing the nearest Israeli embassy or consulate.

Applications must include:

Copies of passport(s)

  • Travel itinerary (showing travel for more than 14 days – as the traveller will need to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival).
  • ID of the Chosson/Kallah, Bar/Bat Mitzva, or expectant mother
  • Proof of relation to the Chosson/Kallah, Bar/Bat Mitzva, or expectant mother (birth certificate)
  • Medical Insurance which will cover duration of stay in Israel, which must explicitly state that Covid is covered

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