If the skies open on Aug. 16, who can travel to Israel? Few know

“Why can’t a country that hacked the Iranian Intelligence [Services] open a [coronavirus] lab in 24 hours?” former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked asked.

Interior of a passenger airplane (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Interior of a passenger airplane
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
The Knesset Coronavirus Committee discussed the national plan to reopen the skies on Monday and expressed deep discontent with the administration’s refusal to share information.
“Why can’t a country that hacked the Iranian Intelligence [Services] open a [coronavirus] lab in 24 hours?” Former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked asked.
Yisrael Beytenu MK Yulia Malinovsky called Israel’s position “a third world country’s” and complained that in Ukraine people get COVID-19 results “right away” and in Jordan “in 15 minutes.” She called reports about the reopening of flights “Isra-bluff.”
The administration means to open the country, which is Red, to 10 Green countries with low infection rates. Members requested that the Health Ministry present the committee with the list of these ten countries.
The Foreign Ministry is currently discussing an agreement with such countries.
The goal is to allow Israelis to leave the country and re-enter it without quarantines as if they are “returning from Afula,” Health Ministry’s Head of Foreign Relations Asher Salmon told the committee
“This group of would-be passengers don’t need a rapid answer because they know the flight is planned and can wait for 24 hours,” he said.
“I have a list of countries in my hand but I can’t reveal it, these are more than ten countries. Some countries are becoming green such as Canada, which accepts Israelis”, he added.
His words caused an uproar and led to the committee’s head Likud MK Yifat Shasha-Biton to rebuke him saying “these are not state secrets, there is no reason to keep it hidden from MKs.”
In addition to that discussion, the Knesset Economy Committee approved a change in regulations to allow pilots to skip written exams and focus on proving their flying skills ahead of reopening the skies.
Roughly 85% of Israeli pilots haven’t flown during COVID-19 and previous regulations mandated they pass a written exam every six months to keep flying.
Head of Israel Air Line Pilots Association Captain Meidan Bar informed the Knesset that, if the airlines want to resume flights in September, pilots should have been allowed to fly since Sunday.
The change extends the time period between written exams to every two years and includes Air Traffic Controllers and Flight Technicians.