Israel seeks hotels for returning citizens to be quarantined at Passover

The Israeli Defense Ministry called for proposals Friday, seeking hotels to house citizens returning to celebrate Passover and in need of quarantine.

An Ultra-Orthodox Israeli walks on an empty street in Jerusalem, on March 27, 2020.The Israel Defense Force is seeking the rental of hotels to house citizens returning from abroad for Passover, who must self-quarantine for 14 days after their arrival. Photo by Debbie Hill

“With the coming of the Pesach holiday [Passover, from April 8 to April 16], we will put in great effort to bring home the Israelis who are abroad, so that they will be at home during the holiday of freedom,” the request for proposals states. “As part of the war against coronavirus, the Defense Ministry, Health Ministry, and Home Front Command have all joined the national efforts.”

The ministry seeks at least 20 hotels with 200 or more rooms in Tel Aviv and the nearby Gush Dan area, in Jerusalem and in the coastal area known as HaSharon. Hotels have been asked to submit proposals.

Defense Minister Natfali Bennet said on Thursday that those returning from abroad to Israel must be checked for coronavirus and then undertake a 14-day self-quarantine. The order goes into effect Saturday. Earlier this week the ministry took over two hotels, in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, for use by those found infected with the virus. Army medical teams are supervising the patients’ recoveries, and although only between 15 to 20 are currently housed in what the IDF calls “recovery centers,” up to 500 patients can be accommodated.

So far, 3,035 Israelis have tested positive for the coronavirus, with the vast majority of cases mild, and 79 recoveries. Twelve patients have died and 49 are in serious condition.The figures include cases discovered in the West Bank.

ByEd Adamczyk