Israel opens temporary border shutdown

Story highlights Four airports in Tel Aviv will be closed on July 13 to international travelers with an expired visitor visa

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If you’re visiting Israel, you might want to consider just staying away for a little while.

The Israeli government announced on July 9 that it will close all of its borders and run a special page for international visitors, non-citizens, at

According to Israel Today, the policy affects residents of 22 nations, the majority being European countries.

“As of July 13, Israel’s borders will be closed for all non-citizens,” the government wrote in a statement. “Visitors, residents and other persons who wish to enter Israel for tourism, religious, medical, scientific, spiritual or other reasons must have current visas valid for seven (7) days.”

Visitors with the relevant visas are required to fill out additional paperwork to get their papers transferred to Israelis, to avoid being questioned and prohibited from entering. All Israeli citizens must be in possession of their own travel documents, which can be either a passport or visa-free, in order to make it in.

“The decision comes after a telephone conversation in which Foreign Minister and Minister of Tourism Tzipi Hotovely spoke with the Ministers of Justice and Interior, Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Aryeh Deri, on July 8, and relayed to them with full confidence Israel’s need to further strengthen our borders, to prevent incitement, assaults and crimes against the State of Israel,” Hotovely said.

Travelers with already expired visas aren’t allowed into Israel. Those travelers also can’t check in with their visa-free travel buddies.

However, the government promises to reconsider the policy in mid-July, and urges those travelers who would like to be relieved of their visa issues to apply online. The government says: “This deadline would continue in place for as long as we experience unpatriotic people trying to cross the border illegally. If the circumstances change, we will inform you promptly about the decision to extend the period at the checkpoint.”

If it looks like an inevitable need to head out of the country or you have an urgent family event, you can always reschedule it. It’s also recommended that travelers “review their personal documents carefully,” the government said, and “prevent documents from past entries from being used in appointments at the border.”

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