Tonight at midnight, after a 24-hour extension, the requirement expires for people entering Israel at Ben Gurion airport to isolate in a state-run hotel. This requirement has been in force since late December, one month before Israel closed its skies. The requirement has been extended several times but is now being cancelled at the initiative of MK Yaakov Asher (United Torah Judaism), chair of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, who insists that the policy has failed.
Due to the expected cancellation of the mandatory isolation in a hotel, a dramatic cut in the number of Israelis allowed into the country each day. Minister of Transport Miri Regev has said that only 200 people will be allowed into Israel on a daily basis from Sunday. Only last week the number was raised from 600 to 2,000.
Asher said that the policy had failed because only one third of people coming into Israel were actually going to hotels, while others were being physically forced into the hotels. Some people preferred to pay a fine of NIS 5,000 rather than go to the hotels.
The limit of 200 per day plus urgent humanitarian cases will remain in place until a technological solution is found or the state-run hotel model is reintroduced.
Israel's airport was closed on January 26 except for people who received permission to travel from an exemptions committee. Ben Gurion airport will remain closed until March 6 and the closure is expected to be extended due to concerns that the successful vaccine rollout will be undermined by new Covid variants that are vaccine resistant.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 22, 2021
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