Citing health concerns, Health Ministry warns against bringing in pets from Gaza

Cnaan Lidor is The Times of Israel's Jewish World reporter

A pack of stray dogs look for food near an Israeli tank deployed in southern Israel near the Gaza border on February 8, 2024. (Menahem Kahana/AFP)
A pack of stray dogs look for food near an Israeli tank deployed in southern Israel near the Gaza border on February 8, 2024. (Menahem Kahana/AFP)

Citing the risk of introducing serious diseases, the health ministry warns against bringing cats and dogs from Gaza into Israel.

Doing so without permit “may spread diseases including rabies, echinococcus, leishmania, Leptospirosis, scabies and more,” the health ministry’s statement Wednesday states.

On social media, many Israelis are sharing images and accounts of pets and other animals rescued from Gaza. Many of the rescuers are reserves soldiers, who are bringing out animals despite an Israel Defense Forces ban on this traffic.

Even without human assistance, animals are flowing from the Gaza Strip into Israel because the border is open for military vehicles and troops and is not being monitored for the independent movement of animals, the health ministry adds. Some 5,000 dogs are estimated to have crossed into Israel from Gaza, the statement also says.

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