Despite Israel’s decision that Israel’s skies will begin to reopen on August 16, no detailed plan has yet to be formulated, Globes reported.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu tasked Transportation Minister Miri Regev, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein and Foreign Affairs Minister Gabi Ashkenazi with forming a plan ahead of August 16 to reopen Israel’s skies but the plan has yet to be seen.
As the Globes report said: “Knesset Coronavirus Committee chairperson MK Yifat Shasha-Biton said out loud what most Israelis have been thinking: ‘All those Israelis who are thinking that on August 16, the skies will open, it’s important that you know that it won’t happen.'”
The plan is dependent on a list of “green countries” where Israelis can travel without being required to quarantine upon their return home.
“I have a list of countries in my hand but I can’t reveal it,” Dr. Asher Salmon, director of the International Relations Department for the Health Ministry, told the coronavirus committee on Monday. “There are more than ten countries. Some countries are becoming green such as Canada, which accepts Israelis.”
The MKs on the committee were furious by Salmon’s reticence, with Shasha-Biton saying: “These aren’t state secrets. There’s no reason to keep them hidden from the MKs.”
Shasha-Biton later said she was deeply disappointed with the government’s lack of a detailed plan. “We are moving backward,” she said. “This is a great disappointment.”
A Ynet report later on Monday said that due to Israel’s currently high coronavirus infection rate, only four countries have agreed to allow Israeli tourists to visit their countries: Croatia, Montenegro, Bulgaria and Rwanda. Israelis are also allowed to enter the United States and Ukraine.
“There is less than a week to go until the skies are supposed to open and meanwhile there is no system for testing, no testing procedures, no diplomatic agreements with other countries, no destinations to fly to and no tourists set to come to Israel, or even bookings that can be made,” an Israeli travel agent lamented.
Yamina MK Ayelet Shaked criticized the government’s lack of readiness for resuming international travel to and from Israel, especially the lack of a coronavirus testing lab at Israel’s airports. “Why can’t a country that hacked the Iranian Intelligence [Services] open a testing lab in 24 hours?” Shaked asked.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)