Israel on Sunday lifted all restrictions on the travel of its citizens to and from Ben-Gurion International Airport after the Supreme Court ruled them unconstitutional last week.
The court ruling on Wednesday said the limitation on the number of Israelis allowed to enter the country to 3,000 people daily, was in violation of basic rights, compounded by the proximity to Election Day, after the restrictions were imposed without providing citizens with sufficient time to prepare in advance in order to ensure their ability exercise their right to vote.
According to a government decision late on Saturday, there would no longer be a need to receive permission from a special committee before entering or leaving the country.
The government's decision also states that the number of travelers would be determined only by Health Ministry regulations including the need to conduct coronavirus testing and to maintain social distancing.
Airport officials say they will be able to accommodate upwards of 7,000 travelers each day if a two-meter distance between people is observed though they were considering reducing that limitation to 1.5 meters only.
According to the ministers' decision on Saturday, special flights sent to bring Israelis back into the country will be canceled and fights will be scheduled by airlines only.
Non-Israelis will still require the permission of immigration authorities before boarding their flights. There will also no longer be the need for temperature testing before entering the airport terminals or boarding.
The airport Authorities said they were preparing for 60 flights to arrive and depart on Sunday by placing dozens of testing positions. They said up to 8,400 passengers would pass through the airport and noted that 4,600 were to leave the country while only 3,800 were expected to arrive.
The Health Ministry criticized the Supreme Court's ruling last week, warning that it could cause variants of COVID-19 to spread inside Israel and endanger the successful vaccination drive.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also slammed the decision calling it a mistake. "It is an irresponsible decision that could be the cause of a fourth lockdown," Netanyahu said on Friday.
After the ruling, which included a call for new legislation that would not violate the civil rights of Israelis, the government attempted to find a solution that would include the ability to monitor quarantines for the thousands of people that would be entering the country, but no solution was reached.
The Eilat border crossing to the Sinai Desert was also opened on Sunday. Israelis returning will be required to submit to the same coronavirus testing protocols in place in the international airport.