Israel to Begin Allowing Some Foreigners In

YERUSHALAYIM -
The empty arrival hall at Ben Gurion International Airport. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

In a further easing of travel restrictions, some foreign nationals are to be permitted to enter Israel from Monday, on condition that they receive permission from a government committee before they travel, the Population Immigration and Border Authority said.

The development came a day after the government decided to lift some restrictions on air travel to the country, enabling thousands of citizens to return home and doing away with the need to stay in state-run quarantine hotels. Air travel had been greatly curtailed in an effort to prevent travelers from bringing new strains of the coronavirus into the country.

However, the number of entries is still capped at up to 3,000 people a day.

Over the coming two weeks, preference will be given to returning Israeli nationals ahead of the coming elections scheduled for March 23, the Population Immigration and Border Authority said in a statement on Sunday.

As a result, there will be only limited entry for foreign nationals granted for exceptional circumstances.

Requests can be filed online and require additional documents backing up the appeal.

Among the reasons given for obtaining an entry permit are involvement in essential diplomacy or security needs for Israel; professional athletes; new olim who cannot put off their arrival; foreign workers needed to continue their job function; spouses or parents of Israelis; and humanitarian needs.

Entry to Israel has been largely stopped since Jan. 25. Ben Gurion Airport has been shuttered for all but a few special flights by Israeli and some foreign airlines to bring back citizens stranded abroad. Entrance into the country required special permission by the government, which was granted on a case-by-case basis ahead of each flight by the government-run exceptions committee.