Two Irish Citizens Refused Entry to Israel Over 'Plans to Disrupt Security Forces'

The two headed a group of 27 entering Israel as tourists, but authorities said they had other plans and 'did not reveal the real reason for their arrival'

People stand in line to have their passport checked at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion Airport.
Eyal Taug

Israeli immigration authorities blocked two Irish nationals from entering the country Friday. The two arrived as the leaders of a group of 27 others from Ireland.

According to Israeli officials, they came for what "they claimed was tourism," however, after being questioned, it emerged "that they came with the intention of disrupting security forces in their everyday activities." 

One of the members of the group was barred from entering Israel two years ago on claims she "participated on violent protests in areas of tension," likely a reference to protests in the West Bank.

After she was identified, the rest of the group was questioned. The two leaders were then forced to leave Israel, while the rest were permitted to enter Israel, though restrictions were imposed on their visit.

Immigration officials said that "members of the group were instructed to decisive Israeli authorities; give only short answers and not reveal the real reason for their arrival in Israel."

Interior Minister Arye Dery, who oversees Israel's immigration authorities, said that "Israel is adamant that those coming to visit as tourist have indeed come to be tourisms and not for other goals, like disrupting our forces. We will continue to stand guard and act within the legal authority granted to maintain order, like every other country does.