Residents Stranded while Non-Citizens Vacation

This article is a list of all the people who have been granted entry to Israel before its own residents.

It has been almost a month since the Israeli government have decided to shut its airport, and thousands of citizens are left abandoned. I have heard from people who are far from their young children, of young children far from their parents. There are people who have lost their jobs due to not being able to get back to the country where they work. People left without homes or health care. People without visas. People left without their basic rights.

Guess who these absurd-airport-closure-rules didn’t apply to?

  1. 600 Judoka Athletes

Yes, six hundred. Take a few minutes to count up to 600, because that’s a pretty hefty sum of people to be unnecessarily competing while people are losing their jobs, lives and mental health. I mean seriously – who thought this was a good idea? Who is in charge of Israel’s PR?

  1. Saeid Mollaei

The Iranian-Magnolian Judoka Olympian was among those who entered Israel to partake in the Judoka tournament. He got his own mention because this truly could have been a very proud and historic moment for our country. But the triumph shouldn’t be prioritised over residents and citizens who are desperate to return home.

  1. UK diplomats

The foreign ministry, who by the way somehow don’t have time to answer residents’ emails or respond to please-let-me-return-home mandatory forms but were able to organise this flawlessly, flew in 11 UK diplomats to have their COVID vaccines that are less available in the United Kingdom – where these people live and work!

  1. 302 Ethiopian-Jewish Immigrants

Another incredible, amazing and beautiful story, with unfair timing. How can a country decide that new immigrants are more important than existing citizens? Some of whom are high-risk, awaiting surgeries, generally unwell and unable to fly to Frankfurt (a randomly chosen location with increased risk for COVID contamination) to catch the scarce rescue flights.

  1. Greek Delegation

Led by the Greek PM, a delegation arrived at Israel to discuss future tourism between the two countries once vaccinations have been effectively administered. Surely this could have been something that was discussed once the airport was, in fact, open.

  1. Tarek el-Molla

The Egyptian minister made his way to Israel today to discuss the recent natural gas found in their shared ocean. A conversation they surely could have had over zoom – or at least once all Israeli citizens are back home.

With the Israeli elections coming up, and rumours suggesting that the airport closure may extend beyond Pesach – stripping even more rights from the country’s citizens, I can’t help wondering what possible motives the government has for allowing this closure to continue. Are they really that nervous of more COVID cases that they have barely considered the legal and humanitarian repercussions of their decis

About the Author
Raquel made Aliyah five years ago, and enough time has passed to realise that probably doesn't qualify as a personality trait. Mediocrely funny, extremely Sephardi and constantly hungry.
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