U.S. Lowers Israel Travel Advisory Rating to ‘Level 3’

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) -
A JetBlue airplane at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

The U.S. State Department on Monday lowered its travel advisory rating for Israel to “Level 3: Reconsider Travel” – just days after it had raised it.

Last week, the State Department added 119 countries to the 34 countries listed at its highest “Level 4: Do Not Travel” rating, out of about 209 destinations listed.

The countries added included the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Israel, Mexico and Germany, and cited a “very high level of COVID-19.” The advisories are recommendations to American citizens and are not binding.

The State Department said last week the move to list more countries at Level 4 did not imply a reassessment of current health situations, but rather “an adjustment in the State Department’s Travel Advisory system to rely more on (the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s) existing epidemiological assessments.”

Asked to explain the decision to change Israel’s level, a State Department official said its advisories “take into account the latest data and public health and safety analysis on COVID-19 related risks.”

The Israeli Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.