JERUSALEM (VINnews) — There were angry exchanges in the Knesset’s law committee Monday over the issue of foreign students entering the country. Most of those slated to arrive in the coming weeks are Yeshiva students and MK Eli Avidar (Yisrael Beitenu) was quick to accuse the Chareidim of trying to bring disease into Israel with foreign students, stating that “You should be ashamed because you brought people from Brooklyn and infected your own people in Bnei Brak and Beitar Illit. You are public criminals who act irresponsibly towards your citizens. There should be equality and everyone should be allowed in, but you are allowing only Chareidim.”
Committee chairman Yaakov Asher (UTJ) responded that “it is a shame and disgrace, this is antisemitism. You gained a quarter of a seat of Jew-haters. I was dismayed by Avigdor Liberman’s cynical call to listen to Professor Gamzu (coronavirus project manager) only regarding the entry of yeshiva students while ignoring the other students. This is cynical, despicable and insulting. There are equal health rules for students and yeshiva students, you are lying.”
Professor Gamzu discussed Sunday with officials the arrival and conditions of entry for some 17,000 students who are due to enter Israel. Official data reveal that 12,000 yeshiva and seminary students will arrive, as well as 2,000 students, 5000 participants in the Masa program, 500 participants in Naaleh and 1500 more coming via private initiatives.
Gamzu said that the students could not arrive immediately and not simultaneously. The entry of yeshiva students and students has been authorized only for those institutions approved by the health ministry which can maintain a two-week isolation in capsules of up to six persons. So far 31 out of 183 institutions submitting requests have been authorized.
Ministry officials stressed that “The Health Ministry will strictly enforce the conditions in institutions requiring isolation and will make the heads of institutions guarantors for the fulfillment of these conditions. Violation of the conditions will be deemed a violation of conditions of residence in the country and will have implications both for the student and for the institution.”
Professor Gamzu stressed that “during this challenging period there is a need to balance between preserving public health and maintaining the state’s values and the connection with Diaspora Jewry.”