An American political leader, who is also an Evangelical Christian and strong Israel supporter, called on the Israeli government to reassess its “current, strict entry requirements,” and allow tourists to come to Israel yet again.
“At a time when anti-Israel sentiment is rising and when support for Israel among youth is dropping, it is even more imperative to open Israel to travelers once again,” Michele Bachmann, former congresswoman, presidential candidate and co-chair of Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast, said.
During a recorded address on Thursday to the fifth Christian Media Summit – an annual event organized by Israel’s Government Press Office – Bachmann spoke on behalf of many Evangelicals who cannot get into Israel under the regulations that require a traveler be vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Jews and Christians alike love traveling to Israel, but tourist travel to Israel appears highly unlikely under the current strict entry requirements promulgated by authorities,” she said.
While not mentioning the initial vaccine dose, which is the first stipulation of travel to Israel, Bachmann said Israel’s requirement for any vaccination to be within six months of entry to the Jewish state “forces a traveler to get additional shots, even if the traveler can prove they have full immunities and negative antigens.”
The Ministry of Tourism announced last week it will drop the six-month requirement for people traveling in a fully-vaccinated tour group. However, those tourists will be required to undergo frequent testing while in Israel – either daily with rapid tests or every 72 hours with PCR tests.
“During the first seven days of their stay, non-protected tourists will be in possession at all times of either a negative PCR test taken within the previous 72 hours, or a negative antigen test taken within the previous 24 hours,” the Tourism Ministry said in a statement.
Bachmann spoke for a large segment of the Christian tourism market who have said they are not ready to return to Israel under such requirements for reasons ranging from refusal to get the COVID shot to being subjected to a rigorous testing schedule while on vacation in Israel.
In addressing the pandemic in general, Bachmann said the last two years have been rife with loss of life but also of personal liberties, the right to travel and concurrently with a “rise of intrusive surveillance by big-tech interests and by governments.”
“Therefore, we must humbly ask ourselves the question: Are the nations experiencing a biblical judgment? Thoughtful lovers of Israel would do well to ponder this question,” she said.
Bachmann also warned that while the Abraham Accords – the normalization pacts between Muslim nations and Israel – have been great for commerce and tourism, she said they were based on dividing the land of Israel.
“The Abraham Accords wonderfully open travel, trade and relations between Israel and Arab countries,” she said. “However, that agreement was based upon an ultimate division of the biblical lands.”
Bachmann did not expound on this during her address, but she is likely referring to Israel halting its annexation of land in the West Bank which led to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain's willingness to join the Accords.
“The Bible teaches, His judgment would ensue upon those nations dividing the land of Israel and giving it to those who are not the Jewish people leads to judgment,” she said.
Watch her speech here, at approximately 2 hours, 1 minute.
Here is her speech in full:
Thank you for allowing me to participate in the Israeli Christian Media Summit 2021. My name is Michele Bachmann. I’m a former member of the United States Congress, and while I was there, I was part of the Israeli Allies Caucus. I created the Israeli One-State Solution Caucus and I ran for president of the United States to oppose Barack Obama's anti-Israel policies in 2012.
I was the first Republican woman to run for president who participated in 15 nationally televised presidential debates, and I’m the only Republican woman who has ever won an American presidential primary election contest.
I first came to Israel in 1974 when I worked on a kibbutz named Kibbutz Beeri in Beersheva. Since then, I’ve been privileged to visit Israel nearly 25 times, both in my official capacity as a member of the United States Congress and later as the co-chair of the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast. Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast is a worldwide movement of Jews and Christians whose purpose is to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and to stand in support of the Jewish State of Israel and the Jewish people worldwide.
Why do we do this? Because of the biblical mandate to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and to bless Israel and to bless the Jewish people. The Abrahamic Covenant, as you know, declares God’s intent was to locate the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in a specific land the boundaries of which are laid out in the Book of Genesis. This was done, the Bible teaches, to bless all nations of the Earth. Israel’s purpose, according to the Bible, is to be a blessing to the entire world. Joel 3:2 warns the nations against first harming the Jewish people, God’s special possession. Second, the nations are warned not to scatter His people among the nations. And third, the nations are told not to divide up His land. Otherwise, the Bible teaches His judgment would ensue upon those nations dividing the land of Israel and giving it to those who are not the Jewish people leads to judgment.
The Abraham Accords wonderfully open travel, trade and relations between Israel and Arab countries. However, that agreement was based upon an ultimate division of the biblical lands.
Since Jan. 28 of 2020, the world has experienced unprecedented turmoil through the COVID-19 pandemic. The economic, emotional and geopolitical fallout continues to this day. The global impact of national measures to contain the pandemic have led to massive losses of personal wealth, loss of business, wealth, loss of personal liberties, loss of the right to travel and to the rise of intrusive surveillance by big-tech interests and by governments, let alone the tragic sickness and death. These consequences continue to this day and show few signs of a return to pre-pandemic liberties and lifestyles.
Therefore, we must humbly ask ourselves the question: Are the nations experiencing a biblical judgment? Thoughtful lovers of Israel would do well to ponder this question.
Jews and Christians alike love traveling to Israel, but tourist travel to Israel appears highly unlikely under the current strict entry requirements promulgated by authorities. Those who have been vaccinated are not allowed to enter Israel if their vaccine was more than six months prior to entry. This forces a traveler to get additional shots, even if the traveler can prove they have full immunities and negative antigens.
At a time when anti-Israel sentiment is rising and when support for Israel among youth is dropping, it is even more imperative to open Israel to travelers once again. Let’s recall and pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
Nicole Jansezian is the news editor for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS