February 4, 2021
Yesterday, Wednesday, February 3, the Knesset passed legislation regarding the current ban on flights in and out of Israel. Media reports have mistakenly stated that this legislation extends the ban for two more weeks. This is inaccurate. Rather, the legislation enshrines the current flight ban in law, since its legality was actually quite questionable until this point.
At the same time, our sources in the government tell us that the flight ban is, in fact, expected to be extended for at least one more week. Be aware that the fact that one has a flight reservation in the next week or two is in no way an indication that the flight will actually take place. Once again, it has not yet been finalized, but there are increasing signs that this is the government’s intent.
At the same time, there have been significant breakthroughs for travelers attempting to return to Israel or fly out of Israel. After intense lobbying by Chaim V’Chessed, it appears that in the coming days there will be emergency flights both to and from the US and Israel. This is in great part due to the efforts of MK Yaakov Asher and MK Yitzchak Pindrus and their respective staffs. This is not yet final, but we are optimistic that there will progress on this in the coming days.
However, all is not rosy. It has been relatively easy to leave Israel on outbound flights from Israel. However, inbound flights from Israel require that passengers have special permission from the Vaadat Charigim (Exceptions Committee). Information reaching Chaim V’Chessed is that the committee is being extraordinarily stingy in granting these permissions. Simply living in Israel is not a sufficient reason. The vaada is only granting permission in truly exceptional situations, such as life and death, extreme child care matters, funerals, or similar.
Furthermore, as of today, requests to enter Israel are not being accepted for residents of Israel who are not citizens. Chaim V’Chessed continues to advocate on behalf of the many foreign residents of Israel who find themselves stranded abroad. We are pleased to share that there is an agreement in principle to view such residents as similar to Israeli citizens. Hopefully, in the coming days, they will be eligible to receive permission to enter Israel. Still, bear in mind that as of now, permission is being granted extremely sparingly even to Israeli citizens.