How will Israel's COVID-19 'green passport' work?

The app is expected to launch on January 5.

Teenagers hold onto an inflatable water sport raft in the Red Sea, in Eilat (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
Teenagers hold onto an inflatable water sport raft in the Red Sea, in Eilat
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
Starting in January, coronavirus green passports will be accessible through a mobile application to allow Israelis who received the coronavirus vaccine, recovered from COVID-19 or who underwent a test and received negative results within a three-day period to travel freely, according to Israel Hayom.
The app is expected to launch on January 5 and for a month will only work to allow free travel to the green tourist islands at the Dead Sea and Eilat. It is unclear whether the launch will be delayed due to the two-week coronavirus lockdown starting on Sunday, during which the tourist islands will also be closed.
Eventually, the app will also be used to allow those vaccinated and those who recovered from COVID-19 to receive an exemption from quarantine after returning from abroad or coming into contact with a confirmed patient.
Once the app is available, users will simply input their phone number, ID number and birth date and have the information verified with records in the Health Ministry, according to Israel Hayom.
Children and youth under the age of 16 who cannot get vaccinated will only be able to use the app if they've recovered from the virus or have negative test results.
On January 15, the app is expected to receive an update which will include a QR code that will be able to be used for additional purposes, including entry to sites such as malls and to cultural and sports events, although the exact details of what will be allowed and how this will work are still unclear.
Decisions concerning using the green passport to allow entry to shopping centers and restaurants are being considered due to possible legal issues and the coronavirus cabinet will need to decide on the matter. The issue of youth being unable to vaccinate and thereby also unable to benefit from the green passport is also being discussed.
Earlier this month, Edelstein confirmed that recipients of the coronavirus vaccine would receive the green passport two weeks after receiving the second dose of the vaccine, stressing that "it will be a difficult logistical operation."
"This is important news for businesses and a significant catalyst for a return to routine," said Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen, according to Israel Hayom. "The health passport app is a vital move for the economy, business opening and a quick return to routine, and it will be an important incentive to get vaccinated. The use of the app will allow the opening of entertainment, tourism and leisure complexes."
As of Friday, almost 210,000 Israelis over the age of 60, medical professionals and assisted living staff had received the coronavirus vaccine, according to Health Minister Yuli Edelstein. At the moment, only medical professionals, seniors over the age of 60 and staff at nursing homes and assisted living facilities are approved by the Health Ministry to receive coronavirus vaccines.
Despite this, over 150 young Israelis received the vaccination at the Poleg Mansion assisted living facility located south of Netanya on Thursday, after a staff member invited them in order to use up leftover vaccine doses, according to KAN news.
A source told KAN that such incidents are "expected to happen more," adding that "the vaccines should not be moved according to the decision of the Health Ministry, so when vaccines are left over like in such places - they will use this to invite people to get vaccinated even without a queue and without the age requirements that are currently required."
Some four million Israelis should be vaccinated by the end of the first quarter of 2021, said Health Ministry director-general Chezy Levy during a briefing on Thursday.
Tzvi Joffre and Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman contributed to this report.