Government ministers vote to extend the ban on foreigners entering Israel for an additional week, through at least December 29.
The ban, which first came into effect at the end of November, was originally put in place for two weeks, but is now being extended for the second time, as fears of the COVID Omicron variant take hold across the world.
First-degree family members of those holding weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs or giving birth can apply for a special exemption to the blanket ban on non-Israelis entering, although not all applications are granted. Immigrants to Israel have been particularly outraged at the exceptions made for other groups and individuals, including those linked to the recent Miss Universe pageant, visiting diplomats and officials — and now Birthright groups.
Israel was largely shut to tourism from March 2020 through November 1, 2021, but the reopening proved to be short-lived.