All’s well that ends well, so that I can share this information with you so that the country can get back on its feet very quickly. It is possible to travel to Europe and Israel can allow travel as well to save the country.
We are bereft from tourists and half of the country will soon be out of work. In addition, Israel has a lot of second home Jews that own or rent property that can’t come. The conventional wisdom is that it only takes 21 days to make a new habit. When you go on for several months, the new habit of not coming to Israel becomes the new normal and it will take a long time to return to the pre Virus times.
I didn’t travel myself, but my wife left on Thursday morning to visit her parents in the Czech republic. She has an EU passport and I don’t, being from America, so she can travel to Europe which at this point, has not allowed Tourists from some high-risk countries, the same way we are not allowing any tourists to come to Israel. Israel is a high-risk country so only citizens with an EU passport are allowed.
How do you ask, do they protect themselves? On landing, the passenger can say they are leaving the country immediately. This is based on a simple affidavit. This would not work for Israel, because unlike Vienna, Austria which is a hub for the EU, Israel is the final destination for the passengers flying here.
The second option, which somehow we are not smart enough to do here, is that there is a medical center IN THE AIRPORT. You make an appointment based on your flight time arrival, and for $200 (while it is expensive, it would certainly pay for itself-maybe even make a profit for the country) they do the test. If you come in the morning they give you the result the same day while you wait. If you come in the afternoon, it takes until the next morning. This obviously is just based on staff, and our medical center could give results within three hours if we staffed it. Or if it is not possible, there could be a hotel set up for one night. The idea is to avoid the 14-day isolation treatment. No one in their right mind is going to fly here for a vacation and then sit in isolation for 14 days first.
We must set up a medical center here and get our healthy tourists back. If they are sick we will isolate them. No one who thinks he or she is sick would fly here on purpose. This procedure works for the ones that didn’t know or got sick on the way.
There is nothing special about Europe, if they did it there, we can do it here.
As long as we were at it, I will tell you a little about the uncertainty we faced on her trip on Thursday. First, she had to get to the airport from Jerusalem. Our new 15 billion dollar train is running, but for some goofy reason, it doesn’t stop at the airport on its way to Tel Aviv, it blows right past it. We realize that there are not many passengers, but what would it take to stop on the way? If you are coming from Tel Aviv there is a train, so if you want to go to the Airport by train, first you have to go to Tel Aviv, change trains and come back. About a two-hour process for a 20-minute trip. Now of course for about three years we have had a 24 direct bus to the airport from Jerusalem. Since the virus no more. Again, since there are no passengers no direct bus is running.
But Baruch Hashem we found a bus with only one transfer from the Central bus station that took her to the airport. There were only 10 passengers on the bus but she made it on time to a nearly empty airport. There were only three flights scheduled. Her flight to Vienna on Ryanair had 14 passengers on a 200 seat plane.
But the planes are flying. The airlines claim they have put in new ventilation systems. The next problem for tourists is that temporary medical insurance has to cover them if they get sick. The Ryanair flight had an option for medical insurance for $30, so we took it. We have to make sure our tourists can buy medical insurance as well.
This is the report on the trip there. On her hoped rested return, I will tell you what it is like to return to Israel, as I don’t know what will happen yet. Will the isolation be over on August 1 or before, only time will tell.
The Main Principal
The principal at King David High School, Rabbi Epstein was speaking to his vocal parent body at a meeting that they requested. Rabbi Epstein assured them that he was always happy to hear from them about any problems they may have. He told them, “You can call me day or night, at this number . . .”
Suddenly there was a cry from the Assistant Principal. “Hey,” he exclaimed, “that’s MY number!”