Earlier this week, media reports claimed that Israeli authorities were set to severely restrict flights out of Israel. This news sent many with travel plans scrambling to leave Israel earlier than scheduled, due to fears of being barred from traveling.

In fact, our governmental sources tell us that this proposal did not even come up for discussion at yesterday’s much awaited Cabinet meeting.

The cabinet did vote to extend the current lockdown until the end of January. However, no further restrictions were made for travel out of Israel.

A notable addition, however, is the requirement for inbound passengers to present a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of departure for Israel. This rule will take effect of January 23. As usual, much confusion swirls around this new rule: Which types of tests will be accepted? Will machlimim (recovered patients) need tests? How about vaccinated persons?

In fact, Chaim V’Chessed has learned that machlimim and vaccinated persons are due to be exempt from this requirement. But how will that work? Will foreign airlines be appraised of these exceptions? How will they be able to understand Hebrew documentation? (While vaccination certificates are in English, michtavei machlim generally are not.)

Furthermore, our sources tell us that, at this point, only those vaccinated in Israel will be exempt from this requirement. Persons who received the vaccine abroad will still be required to test for Covid before flying.

We are interfacing with government officials over these issues and will update as this information becomes available.

In a related matter, since the lockdown has been extended, no changes are expected with regards to permitted entry for foreigners. Hence, the issuance of simcha permits will continue to be suspended. Similarly, the unfair practice of barring unmarried student visa holders from returning to their studies will apparently continue, as well.