Israel, EU Reach Mutual Deal to Recognize Vaccination Certificates

YERUSHALAYIM -
Coronavirus testing station was set up by Magen David Adom by young health care volunteers in Katsrin, Golan Heights, Tuesday. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)

Israel and the European Union reached an agreement on Wednesday to mutually recognize vaccine certificates, the Foreign Ministry announced, in a move that will allow travelers access to Green Pass programs.

The ministry said work on the agreement would be completed in early October and would give vaccinated Israeli tourists and business people access to the EU Green Pass, allowing entrance to “restaurants, cultural centers, public institutions and more.”

It would also allow Israel to gear up to begin accepting tourists from Europe, the statement said. Furthermore, it will allow Israelis access to other countries’ programs, should they join the initiative in the future.

However, the ministry cautioned that the program does not supersede entry requirements of individual EU nations, like Portugal and Sweden, which currently bar Israeli tourists. It also allows Israel to continue to bar entry to travelers from specific EU countries if it chooses.

Israeli travel to Europe has plummeted in recent weeks after the EU removed Israel from a list of nations deemed “epidemiologically safe,” and Portugal and Sweden responded by slapping entry bans on Israelis for all but humanitarian and essential reasons.

Two other countries, France and Switzerland, have decided to bar non-vaccinated Israelis. Travelers from Israel and the US who are not inoculated against the coronavirus are now only permitted entry to France if they can prove an essential reason for making the trip and can present a negative test before traveling, and they will need to quarantine for seven days upon arrival.

Switzerland said that as of Monday, Israel will be added to its list of “coronavirus risk countries” and unvaccinated Israelis can only enter the country in a case of “utmost necessity.” Vaccinated Israelis will still be granted entry.

Holland is demanding that all Israelis arriving quarantine, which makes it an impractical destination for most leisure travelers.