Gideon Sa'ar
Gideon Sa'ar Avshalom Sassoni/Flash 90

Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar announced during the Coronavirus Cabinet discussion on Saturday night that he would not support restrictions on Israelis in light of the outbreak of the new strain of the coronavirus, Omicron.

"My concern is that there is a violation of government policy here. I think we are violating our policy. The main effort is the vaccines. We took the risk with the opening of schools and that was a bigger risk. I cannot support such moves," he said.

"There can be variants and I understand the concern, but I would not be in a rush [to impose restriction]. I oppose everything. Both restrictions on Ben Gurion Airport and also tracking by the Israel Security Agency."

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman said during the Coronavirus Cabinet discussion that one must learn to live alongside the virus and not tighten restrictions on citizens.

"I am against further changes in the coming week," said Liberman, though he added he was in favor of quarantine, restrictions at Ben Gurion Airport and tracking by the ISA.

Despite Sa'ar's opposition to the move, Israel's Coronavirus Cabinet approved the restrictions recommended by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz.

During the meeting, the staff of experts presented its position, according to which the COVID-19 vaccinations are more important than ever, in order to prevent severe illness.

In accordance with this, the Cabinet members called on Israeli citizens who have not yet received their booster dose to do so as soon as possible. In addition, Israeli parents are called upon to vaccinate their children.

The Coronavirus Cabinet also agreed on the following steps:

Entry into and exit from Israel: Foreigners from all countries will be banned from entering Israel, other than in special cases approved by the Exceptions Committee.

Israelis who are considered recovered or vaccinated according to the Health Ministry standards will undergo a PCR test upon arrival in Israel, following which they will enter home quarantine. A second PCR test must be performed on the third day of quarantine, and if the result is negative, the person will be released from quarantine. Those refusing to undergo a second PCR test will be required to quarantine for the full period.

Israelis who are unvaccinated will undergo a PCR test upon arrival in Israel, following which they will enter home quarantine. They will then undergo a second PCR test on the seventh day of quarantine, and if the result is negative they will be released. Those who refuse to undergo a second test will be required to quarantine for the full period.

Israelis returning from "red" countries will undergo a PCR test upon arrival in Israel, after which they will be transferred to a government-run quarantine hotel until a negative test result is received. After they receive a negative test, they will be transferred to home quarantine and undergo a second PCR test on the seventh day. If that test is negative as well, they will be released from quarantine.

The State will inform Israelis traveling abroad that there may be changes in the guidelines while they are abroad, and that they will bear responsibility for keeping the updated guidelines upon their return to Israel.

In addition, Israel will resume the use of GPS tracking, operated by the Israel Security Agency, for those who are confirmed to have contracted the new Omicron COVID-19 strain, in order to locate them and cut the chain of infection.

This decision will go into effect after it is approved by government ministers as an emergency measure. At the same time, legislation on the matter will be advanced.

In enclosed areas, the Green Pass will apply for gatherings of over 50 people (instead of for gatherings of over 100 people, as the guideline was until now).

Hanukkah performances and events will remain unchanged, in accordance with the proposal approved last week and as per the Green Pass rules. Enforcement will be increased.

These decisions will take effect at midnight between Sunday, November 28, 2021 and Monday, November 29, 2021, and they will remain in effect for 14 days.

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