Israel to Keep Border Closed to Tourists for at Least Another Week

Israel just reopened to vaccinated travelers on Nov. 1.

A tourist takes a 'selfie' against a view of the Greek Orthodox monastery of Saint Sabbas (Mar Saba), overlooking the Kidron valley, south of the West Bank biblical town of Bethlehem
Photo: Hazem Bader/Getty Images

Israel has announced they will keep their borders closed to international visitors for at least another week due to the emergence of the omicron variant.

According to The Times Of Israel, government officials voted to keep the borders closed until at least Dec. 29.

Israel had initially re-closed its borders in late November, exactly a month after reopening to vaccinated visitors because of the new variant and the rising of cases.

The country has now barred entry to foreigners and has implemented a mandated quarantine returning for Israeli citizens, The Associated Press reported. Domestic travel has not been restricted however a contact tracing program is in place.

"Restrictions on the country's borders is not an easy step, but it's a temporary and necessary step," Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told The AP on Sunday.

As of now, there is no set date for borders to reopen.

The announcement comes as tourists from several nations around the world, including the United States, were welcomed into Israel on Nov. 1. The decision to loosen restrictions came after Israel initially opened its borders to groups in May of 2021 before temporarily pausing the reopening in August due to the spread of the delta variant.

In September of this year, the country once again started welcoming fully vaccinated small groups.

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified Israel as a "Level 3" country, indicating that travelers exercise increased caution.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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