“This is a difficult decision, but it’s necessary to protect public health. Public health comes before everything else,” Netanyahu said, announcing the decision after hours of consultations with senior Cabinet ministers, security officials and public health officials. He said the order would remain in effect for two weeks. It was not immediately clear what would happen to foreign tourists who try to enter.
The move comes just ahead of the Passover and Easter holiday seasons, when Israel is flooded with overseas visitors. It was sure to deal another heavy hit to an already struggling tourism industry. Netanyahu said the government, which has already approved a relief fund for hard-hit businesses, was working on other measures to protect the economy.