Saudi Arabia becomes 'green' country one day after Netanyahu's trip

Bahrain's status was also updated, and it has now become a green country on the same day the prime minister announced plans to travel there.

PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu is seen preparing to give a statement at Ben-Gurion airport. (photo credit: EMIL SALMAN/REUTERS)
PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu is seen preparing to give a statement at Ben-Gurion airport.
(photo credit: EMIL SALMAN/REUTERS)
Saudi Arabia's coronavirus status was updated and it is now on Israel's list of "green" countries, just a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to the country. Green status means that no quarantine is necessary for those who enter Israel after a trip to the country.
Bahrain's status was also updated on Tuesday, and it is now also a green country. Also on Tuesday, Netanyahu announced plans to travel to Bahrain.
The updates were approved and added to public record without a Health Ministry announcement or statement to the press, according to Walla News.
"The Foreign Ministry asked the Health Ministry to examine whether Saudi Arabia is a green country and, if so, to declare it as one," Health Ministry sources said, according to Israeli media. The ministry "checked and it turned out that according to the standards, it is green – and so it was added to the list."
As of November 21, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists Saudi Arabia at "level 4" for coronavirus, meaning there is a "Very High Level of COVID-19 in Saudi Arabia." The CDC website says that "travelers should avoid all travel to Saudi Arabia." Bahrain has the same CDC status.
Israelis are not generally able to visit Saudi Arabia, but in January, Interior Minister Arye Deri authorized a select number of Israelis to be the first with permission to visit the kingdom, under certain conditions that include Israeli entrepreneurs seeking investments, in a sign of warming ties.
Travelers would still need permission from the Saudi authorities to gain entry to the country besides their initial permission from the State of Israel. The Health Ministry site states that although the country is green, Israelis may not be allowed to enter.
"Not all countries, even those listed in Israel as green, allow Israelis to enter them. You must check the instructions of destinations that apply to travelers from Israel," the ministry said.
Netanyahu met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Neom, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday, Israeli sources have confirmed. US President Donald Trump mentioned the possibility that Riyadh would join the Abraham Accords Israel signed with other Gulf states in recent months.
Netanyahu said on Tuesday that he had spoken with Bahraini Prime Minister Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on Monday. According to KAN News, the prime minister could travel to Bahrain as early as next week. Separately, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi is also expected to be in Bahrain next week to open the first Israeli embassy there.
Lahav Harkov, Jerusalem Post Staff and Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.