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Birthright cancels dozens of trips to Israel due to new quarantine rules

Organization that brings young Jews to Israel for free shelves 42 of its 10-day visits planned for the summer after government orders all arrivals from US to isolate for a week

Illustrative: Taglit Birthright participants visit at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem on August 18, 2014 (Flash90)
Illustrative: Taglit Birthright participants visit at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem on August 18, 2014 (Flash90)

Birthright, the program that brings young Jews to Israel for free, is canceling its remaining 42 trips this summer because of new Israeli rules that require Americans arriving in Israel to quarantine for a week.

The tours last just 10 days — although participants may stay longer on their own — and most participants are American.

Participants whose trips are canceled may sign up for new trips, according to the Haaretz news outlet, which first reported the cancellation on Monday.

Separately, the US Centers for Disease Control has warned against travel to Israel, saying there is a “very high level” of COVID-19, and that even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants.

“We anticipate that the seven-day quarantine rule will be temporary, and we look forward to resuming trips as soon as possible,” the newspaper quoted a Birthright spokesman as saying.

Birthright resumed travel in May following a 14-month hiatus.

Israel is battling a resurgence of COVID-19 infections that have rocketed from just a few dozen daily cases in June to over 5,000 diagnosed on Monday.

As of August 16, there will be only 10 countries Israelis will be able to return from without having to quarantine — and only three of those destinations accept Israeli tourists — according to updated travel guidelines published by the Health Ministry late on Sunday.

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