Israeli millionaire and philanthropist Moti Kahana has come up with an idea to repatriate stranded compatriots from around the world by taking them through Cyprus, the Times of Israel reported on Monday.
Under current rules in place to protect the population against the spread of coronavirus, only around 200 people a day are being allowed into Israel.
Health officials claim the airports’ shutdown is a necessary precaution over concerns that more contagious Covid-19 strains could arrive in the Israel from abroad, as is the case with the British variant, which now accounts for almost all new coronavirus infections in the country.
Kahana was also refused entry in Israel from Dubai last week, despite having already received both vaccine jabs in the US, where he resides for most of the year.
He told The Times of Israel he was currently in touch with Cypriot authorities to activate his plan that would see Israelis who wants to repatriate fly to Larnaca, where a ship he would rent, which he intends to name ‘Democracy’, would be waiting to ferry people to Israel.
He said interested passengers would be required to take a Covid-19 test before boarding the ship and another upon disembarking.
While Kahana’s compatriots stuck abroad would need to arrive in Cyprus at their own expense, he assured he would cover all other expenses, from the journey to the tests.
Sea entry to Israel is theoretically open. However, the policy has not yet been tested by an actual ship.
“For the past 10 years I’ve been extricating Jews from Arab countries from dangerous places,” Kahana told the Times of Israel. “Whoever can afford a flight to Cyprus will be able to board my ship.”
Kahana added that he is still waiting to receive a reply from the Cypriot authorities regarding his plan.