After Israel was reclassified to fall within the United States Central Command Area of Responsibility (AOR), the US military released updated guidelines banning service members from traveling to the region on leave.
The change, which affects Central Command Regulation 55-2, was implemented on September 8 of last year - one week after Israel was officially reassigned to the AOR.
The updated regulation rules that “unofficial travel into the US CENTCOM AOR is not authorized” - meaning Jewish service members looking to participate in cultural Birthright trips to Israel will be unable to travel as planned.
CENTCOM maintains that the updated guidelines were not prompted by Israel’s new designation within the AOR.
CENTCOM’s chief of media operations, Lt. Col. Karen Roxberry, informed ToI by email that the regulation was altered as part of the military’s response to Covid considerations in the region.
“The changes… to Central Command Regulation (CCR) 55-2, were implemented in direct response to heightened Covid-19 restrictions throughout our area of responsibility,” Roxberry said.
“Any correlation between the Defense Department’s announcement of Israel’s realignment to US Central Command’s responsibility in September 2021 is purely coincidental,” the official added.
First published: 13:41, 04.27.22