Vaccinated Israelis allowed to visit Sinai starting Tuesday

Government plans to permit 300 people a day to travel through Taba crossing, if they take virus test in Egypt and another upon return to Israel

A beach in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, on June 6, 2019. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)
A beach in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, on June 6, 2019. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Ministers approved on Friday the reopening of Israel’s border crossing with Egypt, allowing Israelis to visit the Sinai Peninsula from Tuesday, during the Passover holiday.

The Taba crossing had been largely shuttered since the coronavirus pandemic began.

According to the new regulations, 300 people will be allowed to leave to Sinai every day, while another 300 will be allowed to enter. Travelers will need to pay a border passage fee in advance for a specific date, and present it at the border.

Despite being vaccinated, those crossing will need to carry out two coronavirus tests — one when leaving and the other when returning.

View of the empty Taba crossing between Israeli and Egypt, January 28, 2021 (Flash90)

The number of people allowed to travel through the crossing is expected to increase over time.

“This is the start, Happy Holidays to everyone, including those who love Sinai,” Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen tweeted following government approval of the plan.

Last week, entry restrictions were eased at Ben Gurion Airport, after the High Court of Justice ruled a government-imposed cap of 3,000 returning citizens per day disproportionately violated civil rights due to its sweeping and extended nature, as well as its proximity to the March 23 elections.

Israel’s land and air gateways had been largely closed since January 25, leaving thousands unable to return, in an effort to prevent the potential arrival of coronavirus variants.

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