My daughter Jenny married a Canadian. Because the U.S.–Canada border is closed, they could not marry in either of our two countries; however, as new olim (immigrants to Israel), they could marry there. The Israeli border is also closed; however, my wife and other children have Israeli passports and, therefore, could travel there for the wedding. It was looking like I might be the odd man out.
But, leave it to Israel to recognize the importance of weddings and families. As one of its COVID border exceptions, Israel allows immediate family members of brides and grooms to enter the country. A seventeen-page application later, I was granted permission to travel.
As part of the application, I had to document my plans for the two-week required bidud (quarantine). Upon landing, we all had to report again our bidud plans. They actually held my passport until I completed the on-line process, and twice we were visited by the IBP (Israeli Bidud Police) at our apartment. (Note: There is no actual Bidud Police, but I like calling them that. They are really from the office of the Ministry of Health.)
I received several questions about the political atmosphere in Israel while I was there. “What does the person on the street think about the new peace deal?” For two solid weeks, I had as much exposure to the Israeli street as I have in my office this afternoon. If not for the daily delivery of shawarma, I really could have been anywhere on the planet. While COVID is currently spiking in Israel, I can tell you from experience that they take quarantine pretty seriously.
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