Israel Approves Entry of Tourists Not Vaccinated With COVID Booster Shot

israel travel covid
Travelers at Ben Gurion International Airport last month. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

The Coronavirus Cabinet late Sunday voted to allow groups of foreign tourists to enter the country even if they have not been vaccinated with the COVID vaccine booster shot, but have been jabbed with the two initial doses more than six months ago.

In a telephone vote, the Cabinet approved the entry of travelers in groups from five to 40 people.

Last month, the Coronavirus Cabinet voted to allow all vaccinated tourists to enter the country from Nov. 1 as long as they’ve been jabbed by a vaccine recognized by the World Health Organization. Those vaccinated with the Russian Sputnik V vaccine will be able to enter the country from Nov. 15.

The tourists entering the country, however, must present upon arrival an entry permit from the Tourism Ministry and proof of vaccination by a WHO-recognized shot.

Tourists must also come from “green” or “yellow” countries with low to medium coronavirus infection rates and refrain from staying in places with increased risk of COVID contagion.

During the first week of their stay in the country, those not vaccinated with the booster shot will have to present a negative PCR test result performed in the last 72 hours or a negative antigen test result performed in the last 24 hours.

According to the new outline, the leader of a particular tourist group must report to the Tourism Ministry the results of all coronavirus tests taken during the first week and keep a record of the group’s conduct, contacts, places and visiting hours, in order to provide it to the epidemiological investigator should one of the tourists contract the virus.

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz said the measure was part of Israel’s policy “to live alongside” coronavirus. “We are taking all precautions in order to maintain public health and identify new variants. At the same time, we want to continue the economic activity, education, culture, tourism and the routine of life in Israel.”