Israel is gearing up to help hundreds of Israelis stuck in Peru due to border closures enacted as a result of the coronavirus, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Tuesday.
“The Foreign Ministry has been instructed to make every effort to find a solution that will enable hundreds of young Israelis in Peru who wish to return to Israel to do so,” the spokesman said.
Foreign Minister Israel Katz spoke with national carrier El Al and agreed on terms for the company to assist in bringing the Israelis in Peru back to Israel.
“I have now spoken to El Al’s management and it has agreed that the company will mobilize to find a solution for the return of young Israelis from Peru to their caring families in Israel,” Katz tweeted.
In a Facebook post on Monday, Bar Levi, one of the Israelis stuck in Peru after the country announced the closure of its borders, wrote an open letter to the Israeli government asking for help.
“We are begging for help to return to Israel. We are scared to remain in closure in a third world country without suitable medical equipment and the advanced care that exists in Israel,” Levi wrote. “We are afraid that we will get sick here and God forbid our situation will get worse. I call on the government of Israel to bring us back home before it is too late.”
Levi claimed that Israelis were being asked for some $3,500 for direct commercial flights back to Israel, a sum that was out of reach for the hundreds of backpackers in the country on post-army trips.
Thousands of Israelis are believed to be in South America, where several countries have announced border closures to combat the spread of coronavirus. Argentina and Peru both announced border closures Sunday, while Chile has said it will close borders on Wednesday. A travel ban on foreigners took effect on Monday in Colombia, and Brazil has said travelers should be prepared for a ban to be put in place.