Israel’s ever-changing coronavirus travel policies during the spread of the Omicron variant have wreaked havoc on Israelis, Jewish Americans and the Diaspora alike.

Jerusalem barred travel from Dec. 22 to Jan. 7 to and from several “red countries,” including the United States, despite America’s open borders. Some exceptions were made for humanitarian cases, such as traveling for funerals, physical or mental-health emergencies, and parents traveling to their child’s wedding. When travel recently reopened and the United States was removed from Israel’s “red list,” Israeli bureaucracy did not immediately catch up with the changes and transmit them to ground personnel worldwide, who were still struggling to process prior changes.

Israel’s Ministry of Health, for example, took several days to open its entry forms, meaning that even after travel from the United States was legally available, the forms did not grant individuals permission to enter Israel until Jan. 9.

Former Knesset member Dov Lipman, who heads Yad L’Olim—an organization representing new olim, their families and the Diaspora in Knesset—called this recent period a “circus of confusion,” noting “refusals at airports worldwide.”... Read More: JNS