COVID-19 sign in front of plane
COVID-19 sign in front of planeiStock

Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) blasted the Supreme Court Thursday, calling its ruling Wednesday striking down government limits on air travel “irresponsible”.

Speaking at an event held at Ichilov Medical Center in Tel Aviv Thursday, Edelstein warned that Israel is not yet finished with the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think that we still cannot relax completely yet. We are facing a very, very serious enemy, and it isn’t a good idea to encourage the feeling that it’s all over and that it’s time to celebrate.”

Edelstein went on to excoriate the Supreme Court’s ruling Wednesday overturning several key government limits on air travel, calling it ‘totally irresponsible’.

“I’m sad to say this but even the Supreme Court gave expression to this phenomenon yesterday with its totally irresponsible ruling totally opening the borders of Israel for anyone who wants to come in or go out.”

“It is against the public interest, we’re not there yet.”

In its ruling Wednesday, the Supreme Court blasted the government over its decision to limit the number of incoming passengers allowed to enter Israel via Ben Gurion International Airport to 3,000 per day.

The court struck down the limit, as well as the requirement that unvaccinated travelers seek approval from a special exceptions committee in order to travel.

The three-judge panel, led by chief justice Esther Hayut, said the government failed to bring data to justify its policies.

“In the future, any new restrictions on travel into or out of Israel need, in legal terms, a comprehensive, factual, data-based foundation.”

The court also slammed the restrictions themselves, writing in the ruling that the limits constitute an "assault on the very heart of the legal right to enter Israel and to leave it, and other rights that are at the heart of the fabric of life in democratic societies."

"It seems that instead of investing the effort and resources to enforce isolation, the violation of which is at the center of fears of outbreaks of [COVID] variants, the government preferred to impose a regime on entry and departure from Israel that is easier to do, but much more seriously harms basic rights."