Like many other countries, Israel closed its borders in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Although it was initially touted as having one of the best responses to the pandemic – and was one of the first countries to roll out vaccines – it has also seen many false starts and severe outbreaks in the world. over the past two years. International tourism was suspended, and for a time even Israelis were barred from traveling to most other countries. While the country first tried to reopen to tourists in the summer of 2021 and then again in November and December, Delta and Omicron had other plans. Finally, on January 9, 2022, we saw Israel reopen to vaccinated tourists only, and then on March 1 open its borders to all travelers of all ages, regardless of their vaccination status.
To enter, travelers must present two negative PCR tests: one taken before departure and the second after landing in Israel (there is an efficient testing center at Ben Gurion Airport). All who enter will be required to quarantine in their hotel or other accommodation until they receive a negative second test result, or for 24 hours, whichever comes first.
The reopening of the country comes with several new or reinstated flight routes. Starting May 6, 2022, American Airlines will launch Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport nonstop to Ben Gurion Airport, and a direct flight to Miami was added to their roster last June. This month, El Al is restoring its nonstop route to Boston, which was canceled in March 2020.
Despite the struggles brought by COVID-19, life in Israel has continued – with new hotels, restaurants, bars and cultural experiences debuting in recent years – even though they have only been able to accommodate locals. until now. Here are all the new things travelers can expect to experience in Israel, organized by region.
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Israel’s most dynamic city hasn’t slowed down. Last summer, the famous The Jaffa hotel reopened after a year-long closure; Soho House Tel Aviv and Debrah Brown, the latest hotel from popular local boutique brand Brown Hotels, have both debuted. Star chef Eyal Shani’s Debrah Brown’s Dvora restaurant also opened earlier this year. But the city’s biggest hotel news comes on March 28, when the David Kempinski Tel Aviv opens along the iconic Mediterranean Sea promenade. It brings a whole new level of luxury, with a full-service spa, rooftop pool, and five restaurants, including a Cohiba-branded cigar bar and Israel’s first House of Macallan whiskey bar.
Like any major food-focused city, Tel Aviv has seen a myriad of restaurant and bar openings over the past couple of years. Some of the most exciting include HIBA, from chef Yossi Shitrit of hotspots Onza and Mashya; chef Raz Rahav’s Tirza wine bar at the famous OCD restaurant; Capella, a chic and sassy cocktail bar on the 14th floor of the Hagag building where cell phones are prohibited; French Bakery Alexander was opened by 2017 Israeli Pastry Champion Alex Berman; and Darya, serving Silk Road cuisine from the chef of the popular Animar, inside the Hilton Tel Aviv. The other big food-related opening was the launch of the Asif Culinary Institute, run by Naama Shefi, who also runs the Jewish Food Society in New York: its mission is to celebrate Israeli cuisine and explore its roots, influences and future via a library filled with research and cookbooks that includes a gallery of rotating exhibits, a rooftop farm growing native plants and herbs, an experimental test kitchen, a vegetarian cafe and a market selling products made in Israel.