Photo Credit: Flash 90
Passengers seen at the check-in counters as Ben Gurion International Airport gradually resumes operations

Israeli authorities at Ben Gurion Airport stopped two male Hasidic yeshiva students from entering the country on Sunday, according to a report published by the Kikar HaShabbat news outlet.

Instead, barely an hour after the two young men had landed at the airport, they were both placed on another flight and sent on their way back to London, their city of origin.

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The reason for the rejection had to do with their lack of appropriate documents certifying their health and freedom from the novel coronavirus, according to a relative of one of the young men who spoke with Kikar HaShabbat.

The two students had obtained their airline tickets through a well-known London businessperson who had promised they would receive the required approvals by Sunday. Assuming the red tape was completed, the students boarded the flight even though they had not received their documents.

Once they arrived at Ben Gurion International airport, according to Kikar HaShabbat, the two students had a difficult time. A spokesperson with the Population and Immigration Authority told the news outlet two foreigners had arrived without the prior authorization that has been required by the state since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The student’s relative told the news outlet that at least one of the students was treated “rudely” and with “contempt” by the Population Authority official in the airport.

The official refused to wait for the Israeli attorney who was on his way to the airport to help the students; instead, both were immediately deported within the hour on a flight back to London.

The Population Authority told the news outlet that the flight to London was forced to wait because the yeshiva students refused to board. Moreover, the Authority said, immigration to Israel is conducted by a specific, accepted process through the Jewish Agency; “not by giving ultimatums to authorities while trying to find ways to work around the regulations.”

Some 16,000 foreign yeshiva students and those at religious women’s colleges, as well as secular high school and university students plus youths with various Zionist organizations – a total of 17,000 students — arrived in Israel this month for a year’s program of studies. All of them began a 14-day period of quarantine, in “capsule” groups of six each in various places around the country approved by the Ministry of Health.

Professor Roni Gamzu, Israel’s Coronavirus Czar, approved the move on August 3 after a heated debate that lasted several weeks. Special inspectors have been tapped to oversee the Israeli institutions that are hosting the quarantined foreign students, and any who violate their isolation are subject to deportation.

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