Israel set to impose two-week flight ban to aid fight against Covid

Prime Minister and senior officials have provisionally agreed plans. Arrival permits will be allowed only ‘in exceptional circumstances’


A boy sits on donkey-drawn cart loaded with a water tank, as drinking water and fuel become increasingly scarce, in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on October 30, 2023, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS / AFP) (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images)

Israel seems set to ban passenger flights for two weeks pending approval of a proposal being debated in Cabinet today.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior government officials provisionally agreed the plan on Saturday night, which will take immediate effect if passed.

A tweet from the PM’s official account read: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held discussions on the issue of Ben-Gurion International Airport and will submit a proposal to the Cabinet tomorrow on halting flights to and from Israel for two weeks in order to prevent the entry into Israel of additional coronavirus mutations.”

It also outlined plans for a reduction in arrival permits to Ben-Gurion, which would be allowed only “in exceptional circumstances that would be approved by a committee headed by the Health and Transportation Ministry Director Generals.”

A “separate outline” for humanitarian cases requiring special flights is being formulated.

The news comes as American Airlines announced a new New York-Tel Aviv route, with the first flights from New York scheduled to depart on May 6.

The airline said it would be an “important business, leisure and cultural route”.  It also intends to launch a service from Dallas-Fort Worth later this year.

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