Solution for Israelis born in Arab states trying to enter U.S.
A solution is in the works regarding the border delays experienced by Israelis born in Arab countries when they enter the United States.
In recent weeks, the Israeli embassy in Washington has been in contact with the State and Justice departments in an effort to exempt Israeli citizens from having to undergo a special check upon entering the U.S., which is applied to all individuals born in countries that are defined as sponsoring terror, especially Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan and Libya.
In recent months, many Israelis who were born in these countries have had difficulties attaining entry visas to the U.S., or have experienced problems at border crossings after having received visas.
Iranian-born former IDF chief of staff Shaul Mofaz, whose appointment as the new defense minister comes to the Knesset on Monday, experienced delays several weeks ago when he sought to enter the United States as a visiting scholar at the Institute for Near East Policy in Washington.
Mofaz underwent three sets of questioning before he was authorized to enter the U.S. The former general did not hold an official service passport issued by Israel, and his identity and previous position in the IDF were not evident to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) officers at the airport.
Both the State and Justice departments recently agreed that Israel holds a unique status in this regard, and promised that Israelis born in Arab countries and so would be treated differently. The decision was put into practice in a number of individual cases, following the intervention of Israeli representatives in the United States.
Israel is now hoping for a sweeping declaration that would exempt all its citizens entering the U.S. from having to undergo the special examination, even if they were born in Arab countries.
According to Israeli sources, the U.S. State Department has expressed its agreement to such a declaration, but the Justice Department is still debating the matter.