Libermanצילום: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Israeli Finance Minister Avidgor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) said Wednesday that Israel would not impose a new lockdown, and called for the reopening of air travel to and from Israel by mid-January.

Speaking at a conference hosted by Calcalist Wednesday morning, Liberman ruled out a new lockdown, “even if there are many confirmed cases”.

“We shouldn’t get frightened by nor should we ignore the Omicron variant. But the issue of the lockdown needs to be taken off the agenda, even if there are many confirmed cases. We need to learn to live with the coronavirus.”

Liberman set a deadline for the end to most travel restrictions, saying that by mid-January, incoming and outgoing travel should be permitted.

“We don’t need absolute protection; all our lives we’re dealing with risks, and we all need to act responsibly. Starting from the 16th of January, we must open up air travel completely, both incoming and outgoing.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Israel Hayom published an interview with Diaspora Minister Nachman Shai (Labor) in which Shai urged the government to ease restrictions on air travel, which he said have brought Israeli-Diaspora relations to a “breaking point”.

“We’re approaching a breaking point in Israel-Diaspora relations,” Shai said. “We have the means to protect the health of Israel’s citizens, even without closing the country’s borders to entry and exit for the world’s Jews.”

“The time has come to take into account the extensive damage that is liable to be caused to our ties to Diaspora Jewry.”