OMICRON UPDATE | November 29, 2021

The start of this year's Hanukkah celebration has brought unexpected news with the emergence of an Omicron variant. While the world learns more about what the Omicron variant really means, the Israeli government has taken the precautionary step to close its borders to foreign visitors for a two-week period as of Monday, November 29.

NOVEMBER 19, 2021

Dear Travelers & Friends,

After 18 months of full or partial closure, travelers are now welcomed back to fully enjoy the beauty and wonder of Israel – and we are elated! This past summer, our organization was honored to host over 2,000 teens and young adults in Israel on specially approved pilot groups. Now we look forward to re-starting our adult and family trips this month, as well.

Of course, Israel will maintain its cautious approach, and principles of Israel's new general entry rules are as follows:

Travelers must have completed their vaccination sequence no more than 180 days from their projected final day in Israel. This means two doses of the Morderna/Pfizer vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. For travelers that fully completed their vaccination sequence beyond the 180-days mark, a booster vaccine is required, and it must be received at least 14 days from the date you are scheduled to arrive in Israel (according to Israeli rules, valid boosters are administered at least five months following the initial full vaccination).

Travelers must arrange for a PCR test administered within 72 of their flight departure time, and a negative result is to board the plane. The 72 hours count from your actual flight to Israel – not a connecting flight. On arrival in Israel, an additional PCR test is required at Ben Gurion Airport and is pre-arranged and paid for prior to your flight via an online health declaration form. Travelers need to remain at their arrival hotel room until the results of the arrival PCR test are received – typically 6-12 hours. For this reason, we recommend planning to arrive in Israel a full day ahead of your tour start date. Once your negative result is in hand, you can qualify for a Ministry of Health-issued "Green Pass". This is the same pass that enables regular Israelis to travel freely throughout the country.

NOTE: The Green Pass is issued digitally, which means you will need to travel abroad with a mobile phone. We recommend 019 Mobile for a local SIM card purchase and other mobile services.

Many countries, including the United States and Canada, require a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of boarding your homeward-bound flight. Testing services are readily available in all major Israeli cities and can also be arranged by appointment at the date and place of your choosing. Authentic Israel will assist travelers in making these arrangements.

If a traveler tests positive for Covid-19 while in Israel, they will be required to stay at an officially sanctioned "quarantine hotel" where all meals are provided. The cost of the stay will be the responsibility of the traveler. Additional details related to these facilities will be released soon.

Travelers follow the same public health rules that apply to all Israelis. Masks are generally required indoors. Indoor dining is allowed, however, we will plan for increased outdoor dining and open-air indoor dining where it is practical.

Travelers must arrive in Israel with medical insurance that is valid abroad. If your home policy does not meet this requirement – or if you simply want the convenience of local coverage – we recommend a short-term medical insurance policy designed for travelers. While trip insurance is not a requirement, most plans provide important benefits such as cancellation coverage due to illness and coverage for costs related to contracting Covid-19 in Israel. We recommend Travel Insured International

For travelers signed up for an Authentic Israel program that includes travel within Europe, the entry rules vary from country to country, however, the baseline requirement is that travelers be fully vaccinated prior to arrival. As of now, most European countries do not have a booster shot requirement.

Full details about Israel's entry rules can be found on the Ministry of Health website at this link. General information about Covid-19 in Israel is available at this link.

Taken together, we believe this cautious approach, combined with the generally improving public health trajectory, will provide travelers with the confidence they need to truly enjoy their travels in Israel. Of course, certainty remains elusive with all plans, and to provide additional peace of mind, we are relaxing our payment and cancellation terms for the duration of this Covid-19 era. Payments for adult & family tours will be considered fully refundable up until 60 days prior to your scheduled program start date. Within the 60-day window, exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Thank you for your patience during this extraordinary period, and we do look forward to welcoming you to Israel in the very near future.

Managing Directors


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