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Non-Israeli parents of pregnant women exempted from travel ban — report

Health Ministry allows family of expectant mothers into Israel to assist with birth, after complaints over Miss Universe contests coming in while parents forced to stay away

Travelers seen at the Ben Gurion International Airport, on November 29, 2021. (Flash90)
Travelers seen at the Ben Gurion International Airport, on November 29, 2021. (Flash90)

The Health Ministry has decided to allow the non-Israeli parents of some pregnant women into Israel, despite a travel ban barring foreigners from entering the country, according to a Tuesday report.

The exemption applies to the non-Israeli parents of pregnant women who do not have parents in Israel and are due to give birth soon.

The move comes after pregnant women in Israel whose parents were locked out launched a campaign last week to urge Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked to carve out an exemption, noting that Miss Universe contestants were allowed into Israel despite the travel ban.

Non-citizens are barred from entering the country, with some exceptions, due to fears of the Omicron variant. The travel ban is in place until at least December 13.

The government has allowed Miss Universe contestants to enter the country for the competition in Eilat on December 12.

The women said they require emotional and physical support from their parents before and after the birth.

“I’m here alone, I don’t have anyone to help me,” one pergnant immigrant from Mexico told the Yedioth Ahronoth daily. “Why can’t my mom, who is fully vaccinated and has all the necessary papers, be able to come and be with me.”

After a report on the campaign, the Interior Ministry told Yedioth the comparison to the Miss Universe contest was “misplaced,” but that it would examine the request.

“The goal is to save lives and there is no doubt that the entrance of many parents into Israel, and them being very close to other people, can pose a health risk. However, Minister Shaked has instructed that the request be examined with the Health Ministry,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Ynet reported that following the request, Shaked contacted the Health Ministry directly and asked that vaccinated people in the group be allowed in the country, as long as they fulfill quarantine requirements, and the Health Ministry granted the request.

The Health Ministry said there were 21 Omicron cases in Israel as of Monday, 16 of whom had come from abroad.

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