Brazilian-Israelis are furious. Here is why

Data shows that COVID-19 rates in Brazil have greatly improved, yet it is still a banned country in Israel. This must change.

This post is a continuation of my previous one dealing with the difficult and unfair situation current being experienced by Brazilian-Israelis in Israel. Here I want to focus on the data that shows that the pandemic in Brazil is in a much better situation now, therefore Brazil must be removed from Israel’s list of “banned countries.”

Brazil is the country that is for the most time in Israel’s “banned countries” list. Meaning that nobody can travel to Brazil (except if receiving special authorization from a very strict “exceptions committee”) and Brazilians cannot come to Israel, not even first degree relatives and not even for exceptional occasions such as births, weddings, surgeries etc. Israel has been strict with its airport policies, however, first degree relatives from all around the world are allowed to come – except if they are from banned countries such as Brazil.

This policy – and Brazil staying for so long in the list of banned countries – has led to extenuating and almost inhumane circumstances, which I have detailed in my previous post.

It is already September 2021 and Brazilian-Israelis are furious. We are furious simply because we are not being treated fairly. We are furious because countries with the same or with much worse COVID-19 rates than Brazil are not banned and Brazil is. See the graph below as an example:

Source: Our World in Data

Brazil is in better shape – in terms of COVID-19 cases per million habitants – than all the countries in the graph, but only Brazil is banned. Relatives from all these other countries can come, but relatives from Brazil are banned. Why is that?

Someone might say that Brazil is not vaccinating its population therefore it is more risky to allow Brazilians. It is not true, as you can see in the graph below with vaccination rates:

Source: Our World in Data

Brazil’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign is advancing fast, and much better than other countries which are not banned.

This pandemic is not new anymore: we are more than 18 months into it and we have multiple tools to manage it: masks, quarantine, vaccines (including boosters), PCR and antigen tests, serology tests. There is no justification for arbitrary and unequal decisions: people must know the rationale behind measures that will restrict their lives.

Moreover, there should be reasonability, transparency and fairness when imposing harsh restrictions that will negatively impact the life of thousands of people. We, Brazilian-Israelis, cannot understand the rationale for banning Brazil. It does not seem a health decision, as the graphs show that Brazil is in a much better shape than countries that are not banned. So we would like to understand why our families and ourselves are not being treated like those of other countries.

We would like to kindly request the competent Israeli authorities to review and correct the decision that banned Brazil, as it no longer makes sense and it is causing unnecessary suffering to thousands of people.

The Brazilian community in Israel thanks in advance.

About the Author
Luiza was born in Brazil and immigrated to Israel in 2018. She is a lawyer and currently doing her Ph.D. in Data Protection Law at Tel Aviv University. In 2020, she was awarded by President Rivlin the "President's Scholarship for Excellence in Science and Innovation". She speaks 6 languages and is (slowly) learning Hebrew while being a mother of 3 small kids.
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