Transportation Minister Miri Regev has rejected allegations that the government “Exceptions Committee” has been favoring chareidim over others in granting permission to enter the country during the pandemic travel ban.
According to a report on Channel 12, some 90 percent of those whose applications were chareidi were allowed in, while many secular requests were being denied.
Regev told Yisrael Hayom on Sunday that there was no basis to this claim. “From the application form it is not possible to know whether the applicant is chareidi or not,” she told the newspaper. “The facts are otherwise,” the Likud minister said.
“If, any case, someone wants to count, there are two main places from which people come to Israel during these days—New York and Frankfurt. About 40 percent of those coming from New York are chareidim. Since February 7, 30 flights arrived from Frankfurt, 12 from New York,” Regev said.
Following the report, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that he would not allow the closure of Ben Gurion Airport to continue unless a Justice Ministry official takes part in the Exceptions Committee deliberations, and its criteria for approving or denying requests are made public.
In response, Regev said that his demand had been accepted by ministers, but that the committee system would not be canceled immediately, and would continue to function while a replacement framework is being drawn up.
The cabinet will soon meet to consider a new framework to enable some 25,000 Israelis to return home, many of whom wish to do so in order to vote in the March 23 election, she said.