“Even if your outcasts are at the ends of the world, from there Hashem your God will gather you, from there He will fetch you. Deuteronomy 30:4 (The Israel BibleTM)
Intelligence Minister Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid) addressed the issue of restrictions on tourists that have been in place for much of the pandemic at the regular cabinet meeting on Sunday. He explained his suggested reforms in an interview with Jerusalem Post.
MINSTER SUGGESTS NEW CLASSIFICATION FOR JEWISH TOURISTS
Perhaps the most revolutionary suggestion by Stern called for special classification to be added for visas granted to Jews for coming to visit Israel as tourists.
“We need to act and to emphasize that we need to give the right to come to Israel to Israeli citizens, foreigners, and also to the Jewish world,” Stern said on Monday. “There should be an extra definition [status category], which falls between that of an Israeli citizen and that of a foreigner.”
Non-Israeli citizens are not currently approved to enter the country and this has been the case sporadically throughout much of the pandemic. The travel ban is in place until at least December 13.
“For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.” Ez. 34:11-12
Stern noted the imperative to open the gates to young Jews visiting Israel, some for the first time.
“There are youths in the Diaspora who have not been able to ever visit Israel because their school trips, or their gap year, didn’t happen when they were supposed to,” said Stern. “This is a massive gap we’re creating in the Jewish people, and it will be difficult to restore this sense of connection to the State of Israel, so we have to get to grips with this because this won’t be the last pandemic or variant of concern. We cannot disconnect Jewish youth, Jewish students and Jewish-identity trips from the Jewish national home for so long.”
He also noted the importance of visits by relatives of new immigrants to Israel.
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