Israel’s flight ban has been extended until March 7. As has been well documented, limited flights continue to operate during this time. However, Israeli citizens or permanent residents are required to obtain special permission form the Vaadat Charigim (Exceptions Committee) to leave the country.

The Vaada has been exceptionally parsimonious with granting these permits. This, unfortunately, has affected persons traveling for bona fide emergencies, as well. Over the past several days, Chaim V’Chessed has dealt with dozens of requests for emergencies, such as medical needs, dying relatives and so on, which were either ignored or denied by the Vaada. We have been able to be assist in many instances, but at times we have been unsuccessful.

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At one point, permits were not required from dual citizens; they could simply present their foreign passport. However, this practice was ceased, and many have been stymied in their attempts to travel. It should be noted that, generally, these citizens are not travelling for leisure. As olim to Israel, they have generally left their entire families behind, making it natural that life cycle events can arise, abroad, which require their presence.

Today, Chaim V’Chessed CEO, Rabbi Paysach Freedman was contacted by a senior airport official who offered partial relief for such travelers. From today, dual citizens may simply apply to the Vaadat Charigim and state that they agree to remain out of Israel for 60 days. They should attach this declaration to their request.

Until this time, many citizens simply received no response to their request. Now, dual citizen who have submitted this declaration may simply present a copy of this declaration to the airline at check in, and will be allowed to travel.

It goes without saying that this is not an ideal solution, as many do not wish to stay out of Israel for 60 days. However, it is a stop gap measure for those in emergency situations. Furthermore, naturally, if the flight ban ends, citizens will be allowed to travel back to Israel at their leisure.

This is a dynamic situation. Rules and details can – and will – change rapidly.