Hundreds Stranded as Israel Shuts Down Air Travel

Hundreds of Chassidim visiting New York for Yud Shevat are at risk of being stranded due to the government’s decision to close Ben Gurion Airport for a week.

By reporter

The Israeli government ordered the closure of Ben-Gurion International Airport, from Monday night until the end of the current lockdown in an effort to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

The government voted to begin the near-total ban on all passenger air travel into and out of the country on Monday night. Cargo planes will still be permitted to land.

Many Chassidim who traveled to New York for Yud Shevat are scrambling to find flights back to Israel before the ban goes into effect at midnight tomorrow.

Even those who have already been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the virus will be barred from entry. The government will form a special committee to review requests for humanitarian or exceptional circumstances.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said the measures were necessary “in order to prevent the entry of the virus’s variants and to ensure that we advance speedily with our vaccination campaign.”

Currently, the ban extends until the end of month. However, the government will be able to extend the travel ban beyond the initial date of January 31.

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