Birthright Israel trips to resume amid Omicron variant

The trips will resume Dec. 19, according to a memo obtained by JI

JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images

Passengers arriving from the United States walk with their luggage at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport near Lod on November 1, 2021, as Israel reopens to tourists vaccinated against COVID-19.

Despite renewed travel restrictions on foreigners due to the Omicron COVID-19 variant, Birthright Israel trips will be permitted to enter Israel as of Dec. 19, a trip provider confirmed to Jewish Insider

Birthright participants will be subject to the same requirements as Israeli citizens when they arrive in the country: Participants must have been vaccinated or have received a booster in the last six months, and they must complete a three-day quarantine upon arrival, according to a copy of a memo sent to trip providers, obtained by JI. 

The three-day quarantine does not require a full 72 hours. 

“If for example, they land on a Sunday afternoon that will be the first day, Monday will be the second and ideally they can even do a PCR test on Monday at Midnight or early morning on Tuesday,” the memo explained. “3-4 hours later, when all results come in, the trip can begin.”

All trips must obtain special approval from Israel’s Population, Immigration, and Border Authority.

Other foreign tourists are still barred from entering Israel, a restriction put in place in November following the discovery of the Omicron variant, and extended earlier this month. The Israeli government helps fund Birthright Israel. 

The country has faced criticism for its decision to bar foreign nationals, including family members of Israeli citizens, while allowing in visitors for sporting and other international events. Following a public outcry, the government changed its policy last week to allow the parents of expectant mothers to enter for the births of their grandchildren, although it is still working out the details.

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