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Israeli, Ukrainian officials meet to discuss COVID vaccine recognition

CM 26/07/2021

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Israeli and Ukrainian officials met virtually on Monday to discuss the possibility of mutual recognition of COVID-19 vaccination certificates between the two countries. 

The deliberations come as the Rosh Hashana holiday approaches in which thousands of Israelis travel every year to Ukraine to visit the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov who is buried in the Ukrainian city of Uman. 
Last year, the pilgrimage from Israel was banned due to the COVID-19 pandemic, causing outrage amongst Breslov hassidim. 
Religious Services Minister Matan Kahana has given his approval for a plan to to allow vaccinated Israelis to fly to Ukraine for Rosh Hashana, although the Health Ministry and other government agencies need to give their approval as well.
To that end, an online meeting of Israeli and Ukrainian government representatives took place on Monday, specifically to advance recognition of vaccine certificates to allow the pilgrimage plan to go forward. 

According to the Ukrainian Embassy in Israel, the two parties exchanged information on the status of processing, and in particular, bringing the technical content of the certificates in line with the rules of both countries and the norms of the World Health Organization.
Ukrainian ambassador Yevgeny Korniychuk “stressed the importance of signing an intergovernmental agreement on mutual recognition of vaccination passports for COVID-19 as soon as possible” to allow for the organization of a safe visit to Ukraine by Israeli pilgrims during the celebration of the Jewish New Year’s Rosh Hashana,” the embassy said in a statement. 
The ambassador said that “the draft agreement was submitted by the Israeli side for approval in May and is in fact fully processed”.
The embassy added that it is in “close contact with representatives of religious communities” to discuss and reconcile issues related to this year’s pilgrimage to the grave of Rabbi Nachman.
The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Health Ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment. 

Source: Jerusalem Post

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