Israeli Jews From Muslim Countries at Risk Under Trump's New Ban

Taly Krupkin
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Taly Krupkin

NEW YORK - An executive order barring travelers from seven Muslim countries from entering the United States could also affect Jews, including some in Israel, a prominent New York immigration lawyer told Haaretz on Saturday.

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In the most sweeping use of his presidential powers since taking office a week ago, President Donald Trump paused the entry of travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for at least 90 days on Friday, saying his administration needed time to develop more stringent screening processes for refugees, immigrants and visitors.

Israeli Jews who were born in one of the countries on the list can end up with a problem – even if they only have an Israeli citizenship. “The executive order says, ‘If you are from that country’,” Michael Wildes, Managing Partner at Wildes and Weinberg, told Haaretz. “If you are born there, and you left, you are at risk. If you were born there, you are from there. You have to read it this way till they come out with interpretations,” he said.

Asked whether he would advise such a person not to travel, whether to the U.S. or from it, Wildes said: "Absolutely."

"We don’t know how this is going to deteriorate, and we have to be thoughtful, and we are advising our clients not to travel if they are from that region."

Wildes is currently advising clients from the countries mentioned in the ban, one of them a prominent doctor from Iran who may not be able to return from Italy, and a score of other people who were traveling when the executive order was signed. He is also reaching out to warn clients in Israel, born in the blacklisted countries, who could be affected by the ban. 

“I’m going to reach out to them after Shabbat. Some I’m going to call, to tell them not to travel," he said. He added that among his clients are Jewish refugees from Iran who have travel documents who may not be re-admitted into the U.S. "They should stay put," he said.

Manny Dahari, a Yemeni Jew on his way to the United States, wrote a post on Facebook that went viral and was reportedly shared by other American Jews expressing similar concerns.

"Truth is, there is a possibility I won't be able to get on that plane back home. This is truly a nightmare. I never thought Mr. Trump's decisions would affect me in anyway. I have been living in the United States for almost 11 years. I've waited many years and spent thousands of dollars to obtain my green-card and in few months, I'm supposed to be getting my citizenship. I have done everything legally!

"For my friends who have been celebrating Mr. Trump's decision, you should know this does not only affect Muslims, but it also affects thousands of Jews and Christians escaping war and religious persecutions. I hope you take a moment to think about it."

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