Diaspora Affairs Minister Omer Yankelevitch has called on the government to allow foreign-national parents of pregnant Israeli women to visit their daughters even if they are not vaccinated.
Currently, foreign nationals who are not vaccinated cannot obtain an entry permit to Israel for the purposes of being present for a birth or assisting their daughter living in the country during her pregnancy.
This has caused distress and difficulties for numerous women, including for those with complications in their pregnancies.
The Jerusalem Post has spoken to three pregnant women whose parents have either been prevented from helping them and/or being present for the birth.
On Monday night, Yankelevitch raised the issue in a cabinet meeting and said the government needed to show greater concern both for its own citizens and Jews in the Diaspora with children in the country over this matter.
“This is an important medical issue and [women] need their parents here,” Yankelevitch said in the cabinet meeting.
“A distinction needs to be made between tourists and Jews, our brothers who have family here and children in the army.”
Yankelevitch also spoke with Health Minister Yuli Edelstein personally on Monday and said he promised to deal with the problem.
Yankelevitch added that she was in close touch with the Population and Immigration Authority of the Interior Ministry which has authority over granting entry permits into the country, and said she hoped there would soon be “good news” on this issue.
According to a spokesperson for Edelstein, professionals in the Health Ministry are currently evaluating the issue, but that such efforts are in preliminary planning stages.
Nicole Grubner, an olah [immigrant] from Canada with no immediate family in Israel, gave birth on Saturday to a baby girl.
Her parents applied numerous times for an entry permit to Israel to help their daughter during the late stages of her pregnancy and after the birth but were rejected repeatedly.
Even though regulations now permit the vaccinated first-degree relatives of Israeli citizens to visit the country, those who are unvaccinated are still prevented from coming.
“I’m extremely grateful and hopeful that the government will make this change,” said Grubner.
“The first few days have been a whirlwind, and I haven’t given up hope that my parents will be able to be here at some point in the first few months of our baby’s life.”
Separately, Yankelevitch’s staff have now translated into English the complicated and somewhat confusing regulations regarding which foreign nationals are able to enter the country and for what reasons.