Israel’s Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday night that it was cancelling a decision to relax the criteria for obtaining a “Green Passport” after discovering that the system was being taken advantage of.
The new rule would have enabled Israelis who had been vaccinated against or recovered from COVID-19 while outside the country to nevertheless obtain a temporary Green Passport (Tav Yarok in Hebrew) issued by Israel’s HMOs.
But there was a technical loophole in the system that was quickly discovered by perceptive Israelis. Channel 12 reported that they then set up several WhatsApp and other social media groups and disseminated instructions on how even the unvaccinated could enter the Ministry of Health website and obtain a Green Passport.
An unspecified but reportedly large number of ineligible people managed to obtain a Green Passport in this manner before the Health Ministry was able to close the loophole.
Because of what the Health Ministry called the “criminal activity” of those who exploited the loophole, “Israelis who have recovered from or been vaccinated against COVID-19 while abroad will no longer be able to exit quarantine or receive a Green Passport before settling the matter with local HMOs.”
Israel’s “Corona Cabinet” met on Tuesday to discuss a slight, but worrying rise in infection rates in recent days, and just before the Hanukkah holiday.
At this time, the cabinet decided against any further social restrictions, and will extend the validity of the current Green Passport for those who are fully vaccinated (three doses) or have recently recovered from COVID-19.