Labor candidate Nachman Shai finally approved to enter Israel

Likud: Shai "complained for PR points" instead of going through the system.

Nachman Shai (photo credit: Courtesy)
Nachman Shai
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Former Labor MK Nachman Shai was approved on Wednesday to enter Israel from the US, ending his long battle to come home despite the lockdown on Ben-Gurion Airport.
“The government surrendered a moment before our petition to the High Court of Justice,” Shai said. “Thousands of Israelis are waiting to enter Israel. They should be permitted, pending health limitations. They should be permitted to participate in the election and vote.”
Shai said what he went through reflected the way the government handled the coronavirus crisis: “with governmental blunders, bureaucracy, indifferent and unable to understand.”
Likud sources responded that instead of following proper procedure, Shai “complained to score PR points.”
Shai applied to return to Israel because he is the eighth candidate on the Labor Party list. He bought a ticket to leave the US last week, specifically doing it through the standard channels. He is set to fly home on Friday.
A special committee in charge of ruling on exceptions to the travel ban rejected him twice but never told him that there is another committee for appeals.
“I don’t want to use proteksia,” Shai said, using a Hebrew word for personal connections. “I want to get in because it’s right to let me in. I’m not a judoka or a singer. I’m an ordinary citizen, and it is wrong that I am not getting answers.”
Since leaving the Knesset two years ago, Shai has taught at Emory University in Atlanta and now at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.
Despite not entering the country to campaign, he still won the fourth slot available to a man on the Labor list in the February 1 Labor primary. Due to Labor leader Merav Michaeli’s insistence on alternating between women and men, he is eighth on the list, despite getting more votes than controversial seventh candidate Ibtisam Mara’ana.