Israel is set to throw open its borders to tourists for the first time in nearly 18 months next week after officials scrapped a rule on entry permits.
From 1 November travellers will not be asked to fill out a form asking for permission to visit before they can board a flight to the country.
However, they will need to have been vaccinated no later than six months before the trip and it was still not clear if children would be allowed to enter.
One travel agent said the end of entry permits was “great news”.
“That was the biggest bugbear,” said David Segel, the managing director of West End Travel. “Unless you had a direct relative – a mother, a father, a brother, a sister – you couldn’t go. Even cousins weren’t close enough.
“It will make life easier. You don’t have to go through the hassle of going through the embassy or finding someone in the government to help.
“It’s really good news that they’ve got rid of one obstacle.”
Everyone entering Israel will need to take one PCR test before departure and another immediately upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, and wait up to 12 hours for the results before being released from quarantine.
Israeli authorities will also require travellers to have been vaccinated less than six months before the end date of their holiday, not the start.
It means visitors will have to leave Israel no later than 180 days after their last vaccine or booster shot.
But some confusion remained over the detail of the new travel rules, particularly on how they would apply to unvaccinated children.
Some reports suggested under 18s who have not had a jab would not be allowed entry, which would prevent families travelling from countries where children are not yet being vaccinated.
The Israeli Ministry of Health had not made a public announcement as the Jewish News went to press on Wednesday.
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.