In a few short months, Israel has gone from one of the hardest nations for foreigners to visit to one of the easiest.
Beginning on Saturday, May 21, the only requirement to enter Israel will be to fill out a health declaration form within 48 hours of boarding a plane to the Holy Land.
After announcing that it will stop COVID testing of all arriving passengers, Israel is now also dropping its requirement for foreigners to take a COVID test in order to get into the country.
Eliminating testing at Ben-Gurion International Airport means that people entering the country will no longer have to quarantine the requisite 24 hours while awaiting test results, as had been required up until now.
For more than one year since the pandemic began sweeping around the globe, Israel's borders were completely shuttered to foreigners. Then, after 15 months under a restrictive pilot program, the country opened up to vaccinated foreigners in tour groups only. Slowly the restrictions were peele back and in the fall 2021, all vaccinated foreigners were allowed entry. The borders were closed again in November until January due to the Omicron wave. But, finally, the vaccination requirement was dropped entirely in March.
Israeli Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz announced on Tuesday that the in-flight mask mandate will be dropped as of May 23.
“We aren’t keeping unnecessary restrictions in place,” Horowitz tweeted.
He said any part of the system can be reactivated quickly, but attributed the loosening of restrictions to a major decline in overall new COVID cases and patients hospitalized in serious condition.
The nation lifted its indoor mask mandate on April 24 for most venues in the country but masks were still required in hospitals, homes for the elderly and on planes.
This great news comes as the tourism industry is starting to experience increased traffic and just in time for summer vacation.
Updated 8:37 p.m. Israel time
Nicole Jansezian is the news editor for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS