The office of the Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett issued a statement today, announcing that the United States would be added to Israel’s ‘red list’ of countries, making America off-limits to Israeli travelers.
The decision to add US to Israeli ‘no fly’ list, prohibiting citizens from visiting the country followed a meeting of the cabinet on Sunday and will come into effect at midnight on Tuesday (10pm GMT), according to the statement.
Israelis needing to travel to the United States will have to apply for and receive a special permission for their trip.
The United States was not the only new addition to Israeli ‘red list.’
Italy, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Morocco, Portugal, Canada, Switzerland and Turkey were all added to the no-fly roster on Monday, following recommendations from the Ministry of Health.
There are now more than 50 countries on Israel‘s ‘red list’ to which Israelis cannot travel due to fears about the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
Addressing the Israelis in a televised speech, Bennett said Israel, through tough border restrictions, had bought time to prepare against the new variant. However, he predicted a surge of infections in the coming weeks.
To date, Israel has registered 134 confirmed Omicron cases and another 307 suspected cases. According to the Health Ministry, 167 were symptomatic.
The Omicron variant has driven a new surge of infections, even in the countries where vaccination levels are high.