Ben Gurion International Airport (illustrative)
Ben Gurion International Airport (illustrative) Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen (Blue and White) and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) reached an agreement for allowing vaccinated foreign tourists into Israel.

On May 23, 2021, Israel will open its skies to groups of vaccinated foreign tourists.

The groups will arrive in accordance with the quota to be determined, and the possibility of expanding the decision to include tourists who are not part of groups will be examined in accordance with the results of the first stage, so long as the infection rate continues as it is currently.

The tourists will be required to test for coronavirus prior to boarding the plane, and they will be required to test for coronavirus and antibodies upon arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport. At the same time, Israel will continue to conduct negotiations with other countries regarding agreements to recognize vaccination certificates, so that antibody tests will no longer be necessary.

"Israel is the first vaccinated country, and the citizens of Israel are the first to benefit from that," Edelstein said. "After we reopened the economy, it's time to carefully and in a calculated fashion relax the restrictions on tourism. [The decision to] reopen tourism is very important for one of the industries that was hit hardest during the coronavirus year. We will continue to constantly examine relaxing restrictions, in accordance with the infection statistics."

"I am happy to bring this initial news to the industry," Farkash-Hacohen said in a statement. "It's time that the advantage Israel has in being a safe and healthy country help rehabilitate Israel's economy and the tourism industry, and not other economies. Only the reopening of incoming international tourism will truly revive the tourism industry, the restaurants, hospitality, sites, tour guides, tour buses, and so much more, so people can go back to earning an honorable livelihood."

"I will continue to push for the complete return of incoming tourism to Israel, which will very much help the Israeli economy and provide the jobs that so many Israelis need today."

Earlier this month, Israel's government loosened entry restrictions, allowing first-degree relatives of Israelis to enter the country.