Abraham Bril
Abraham Bril

Let Us In, Israel

I just read that Israel will now accept foreign tourists if they are vaccinated and have a close relative living in Israel. That may or may not apply to me, as my Sister and Brother-in-Law are Israeli, living in Israel and both my wife and I have been vaccinated. But is a Sister-Brother relationship considered close ? I certainly feel close to my Sister, who I have been unable to see for more than 18 months. Does the “close relationship” include my wife ? The new rules are confusing, because some say that the new rules may include mandatory two weeks confinement.

These new rules are also silly, possibly the result of traditional bureaucratic discussions in the Israeli administration. Vaccinated people are highly unlikely to bring the disease with them, so why put additional conditions for entering Israel? Why limiting to “close” relatives? We were supposed to come to Israel for Pesach in 2020. It was to be a wonderful family event, coming with our Sons, Daughter-in-law, and bringing our grand kids for their first visit to Israel. Then Covid broke out and our flights were canceled just three weeks before departure from Miami. As we were then thinking that Covid would soon be conquered (ingesting Clorox ?) , we changed our reservations to Sukkoth. But we were a bit wiser by autumn and decided to skip Pesach 2021 and rescheduled our family trip to June 2021.

I am in awe of Israel for leading the world in combating Covid 19. Smart and decisive leadership triumphed and once again showed Israel’s innovative capabilities. It came with an enormous cost to Israelis and I remember the story in the Times of Israel of the falafel vendor in Ashkelon not being able to provide for his family. I was also thinking of the staff of what would have been our hotel in Tel Aviv, the taxi drivers and the tour guides that were not making much money, now that we postponed our trip. So many people out of work and struggling, but unfortunately a price to pay to keep the country as healthy as possible.

But now wake up Israel, my wife and I have already been fully vaccinated and the rest of the family will be in the next few weeks (not the 5 and 2 year old grand kids). Be reasonable, vaccinated tourists are safe, though it is okay to require a Covid test before and after arrival in Israel. Let us in in June, we want to see my family, roam around Israel and spend some money. What is wrong with that ?

About the Author
Born in the Netherlands, graduated from the Universite de Geneve and the Graduate Institute of International Studies, also in Geneva. Fluent in Dutch, French, English and Spanish, with some knowledge of German, as well as a bit of Ivrit. Spent my working career working in finance in Amsterdam, Paris, London, Geneva, Panama, Mexico and Miami. I am now semi-retired.
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