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

Israel has loosened restrictions on air travel for non-citizens, permitting tourists with family members living in Israel to enter the country.

On Tuesday, the Israeli government updated its policy limiting the entry of non-citizens into the country, following pressure from immigrant groups and criticism by two Blue and White party ministers.

Immigration Minister Pnina Tamano Shata and Diaspora Affairs Minister Omer Yankelvitch on Monday criticized the sweeping entry ban which prohibited even relatives of Israelis from entering the country.

Dov Lipman, a former Yesh Atid MK, lobbied lawmakers, including MK Michal Cotler-Wunsh (Blue and White) to permit relatives of Israeli citizens into the country.

Under the new rules, foreign nationals will be permitted to enter Israel if they have immediate family members (a first-degree relative) living in Israel.

In most cases, non-citizens looking to enter Israel will be required to present either a certificate of recovery from COVID, or proof of vaccination against COVID.

“WE DID IT!! NEW AIRPORT RULES AS OF TOMORROW,” Lipman wrote on Facebook Tuesday afternoon.

“With thanks to Aliyah Minister Pnina Tamano Shata who I have been in touch with on a daily basis and to Michal Cotler Wunsh who has been an incredible partner in this process.”

The announcement of the change comes just hours before a planned protest outside of the Knesset, organized by activists including Lipman.

The new policy is set to go into effect on Wednesday, and will require most non-citizens over the age of one to furnish proof of either recovery from COVID or vaccination against the disease. All non-citizens will also be required to furnish proof of their relationship with an Israeli citizen, and to apply for entry via Israeli consulates abroad.

In some cases, non-citizens will be permitted to enter the country even if they have not been vaccinated or recovered from the coronavirus.

These cases include spouses of Israeli citizens and minor children of Israeli citizens living in Israel.

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