Knesset Constitution Committee postpones expanding banned countries’ list

Great Britain, Cyprus, Turkey and Georgia are supposed to become red countries on Friday, but the committee did not approve the coronavirus cabinet decision.

First birthright group lands in Ben-Gurion Airport after year-long pause. (photo credit: BIRTHRIGHT ISRAEL)
First birthright group lands in Ben-Gurion Airport after year-long pause.
(photo credit: BIRTHRIGHT ISRAEL)
The Knesset Law and Constitution Committee decided on Tuesday to postpone the vote on expanding the list of countries under travel ban to include Great Britain, Cyprus, Turkey and Georgia.
The countries are set to be banned to Israelis starting from Friday, but committee’s chairman MK Gilad Kariv asked the government for additional clarifications regarding the enforcement of isolation requirements in Israel as well as the effectiveness of the measures in place to obtain the special authorization to visit the banned countries before the vote.
“It is not possible to expand the list of banned countries, while there is no significant progress in implementing more proportionate measures and ensuring adequate enforcement here in Israel,” Kariv said. “The Constitution Committee expects to receive comprehensive updates on these issues before adding more countries to the list.”
The list of countries considered at the highest risk of infection currently includes Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Russia, Spain, South Africa and Uzbekistan.
The committee confirmed the inclusion of Spain and Kyrgyzstan, which entered the list last Friday.
Israeli citizens and permanent residents are not allowed to visit such nations unless they obtain a permission from a special governmental committee.
Kariv asked for an explanation about the low number of approvals that the Exception Committee grants.
“According to the Health Ministry, in the last week some 400 identified cases from banned countries entered Israel,” he said. I want to know if they used public transportation, if they checked on them during the quarantine, if the rules were broken. I have no doubt that the low rate of approvals by the Exceptions Committee is also related to the fact that we do not trust what happens when they return.”
Kariv said that the committee will meet again before Friday.
“If we do not receive answers first, the committee will not hold a vote and the issue will go before the plenum, or we will shorten the period of effect of the regulations to 48 hours or overturn them.”