COVID cases in Israel have dropped close to nil and the country is continuing its reopening process.
As of June 1st nearly all restrictions will be lifted in Israel, other than the ban on most foreign nationals due to worries about importing COVID variants, and the requirement to wear a mask when indoors.
Israel closed their borders to most foreign nationals back on 3/18/20 and they have extended the ban since then, but things will finally start opening up this summer.
Starting on June 1st, some 20 organized tour groups, will be part of a trial to visit Israel even without having a first degree relative there. They will also need to be fully vaccinated and they will have to test positive for antibodies in Israel in order to avoid quarantine.
On June 15th all government approved organized tour groups of at least 5 people will be able to travel to Israel. The group organizer will be the one to apply for permission for each group to enter and they can already start applying for permission now.
A group organizer told me that he is being told that everyone in the group will need to have a digital vaccine passport, like New York’s Excelsior Pass, in order to prove their vaccination status and enter the country. Companies like CLEAR are working on verified vaccine passports for other Americans.
He also tells me that he is being told that proof of recovery from COVID won’t be accepted and that a vaccine passport will be the only way to enter the country. You will also need to test positive for antibodies in Israel in order to avoid quarantine.
It appears that will mean groups will only be open for those 12 or older as COVID vaccines are not yet approved for those under 12 years old. COVID vaccine trials for children 6 months through 11 years old are currently underway and if proven safe and effective, should be available by September.
Of course all of the fine print and details are subject to change at any time.
Reuters’ Steven Scheer also reports that Israel plans on opening to individual tourists, that don’t have first degree relatives in Israel, starting in July. It’s unclear what those requirements will be at this time, but I’d expect similar requirements to what group travelers need for entry.
Will you start planning a trip to Israel this summer?