JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Five members of the South African Jewish community who flew to Israel to offer consolation to the family of Eli Kay HyD, who was murdered in the terror attack last Sunday, were detained at Ben Gurion airport. A new directive prevents foreigners from “red” countries including South Africa from entering Israel.
The five were detained at passport control, transferred to a side room and forced to travel on to Dubai even though they are religious and the flight entailed desecration of the Shabbos.
Ilana Smith, who had specially made the long journey from South Africa to console her close friend Devorah, the mother of Eli, landed last night in South Africa. After Shabbat Smith said that “they treated us like criminals. They asked questions and told us to be quiet. I told them that I cannot desecrate the Sabbath and they replied that they would arrest me if I did not get on the plane. I didn’t eat for more than 24 hours and for the first time in my life I desecrated the Shabbos. In Dubai they were nicer, at least they explained to us what was happening and why it happened.
Israel is to trying to stem the spread of the new South African “Omicron” variant, and has reestablished the coronavirus protocol used during previous outbreaks of the virus. The government announced after Shabbos that Ben Gurion airport will be closed to foreigners for two weeks, the Shin Bet will be permitted to track the movements of people who are COVID-19 positive and Israelis returning to the country will require quarantine. Additionally all events in closed places with more than 50 people will require a “green pass” issued to those fully vaccinated or recovering from coronavirus.