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June 17, 2020 9:31 am

Netanyahu Sets August 1 Target to Restart International Flights

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Passengers wearing masks push trolleys at Ben-Gurion International Airport, near Tel Aviv, Israel, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, May 14, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Ronen Zvulun. – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that Israel hopes to begin allowing international travel starting in August, with Greece and Cyprus being among the first authorized travel destinations.

Speaking during a joint press conference with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who was on a visit to Israel for talks, Netanyahu added however that the move depended on the COVID-19 situation.

“Greece and Cyprus will be the first points of destination,” said Netanyahu. “This is contingent on what happens in terms of the numbers of the epidemic whether we keep it under control. But, if we are satisfied with the numbers then what we would like to do is target Aug. 1 as the date of the opening of the skies.”

In March, Israel closed its borders to all non-citizens and enforced a mandatory two-week isolation period for all those arriving in the country from overseas.

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The Israeli prime minister didn’t provide additional details about what this would mean in practice or what benchmark the government would use to determine the acceptable levels of coronavirus in any of the countries involved.

Greece and Cyprus, along with Israel, have fared comparatively better than many other European nations with regard to the pandemic, although Israel is now seeing a significant rise in the number of new infections, with one top health official saying that the Jewish state could be on the cusp of a second wave.

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