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Daily World News

Blinken, Bennett agree to advance US visa waivers for Israelis

CM 25/08/2021


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WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett discussed the Visa Waiver Program during their meeting on Wednesday. 
According to State Department Spokesperson Ned Price, the two “agreed on the importance of working toward Israel’s inclusion in the Visa Waiver Program in order to benefit both U.S. citizens and Israeli citizens.”
There are currently 40 countries in the Visa Waiver Program.

A source in Bennett’s entourage in Washington explained that the visa waiver issue had gotten stuck in lower-level talks between Israel and the US and that it needed a push from a senior official, which it got from Blinken.
“This is a gesture of the US government to the Israeli people,” the source said. “The prime minister brought it up because it is important to him. It is a problem that needs to be solved.” 
Ambassador to the US and UN Gilad Erdan said he is “happy about the significant advances on the way to getting a visa waiver for Israelis going to the US, a move that I led in recent months as ambassador to the US, because there is no reason Israeli citizens should have to waste time and money to enter the US.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the Willard Hotel in Washington. (credit: REUTERS)US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the Willard Hotel in Washington. (credit: REUTERS)
The issue of waiving visas for Israelis to visit the US and vice-versa has come up repeatedly over decades, but the US never agreed to advance it, partly because Israel rejects many Palestinian-Americans who want to enter the country, and partly because the American refusal rate for Israelis applying for a visa is higher than the threshold for a visa waiver.
However, a senior Israeli diplomatic source explained that the high refusal rates are due to cultural differences with the US. Most of the Israeli visa requests that are refused are because they come from people in their early 20s who are unemployed, which the US views as there being a higher chance they will overstay their visas. However, in Israel, these are often people who just finished their IDF service and are looking to travel for a few months. 
In fact, Israelis have one of the lowest visa overstay rates in the world, at 0.5%, when the maximum for a visa waiver agreement is 2%.
As for blocking Palestinian-Americans from entering Israel, the source said the Shin Bet can find a way to resolve the issue if that is what’s standing in the way of a visa waiver agreement.
According to price, the two also spoke about several regional issues, including Iran and the Palestinians. “The Secretary also emphasized that Israelis and Palestinians alike deserve equal measures of freedom, prosperity, and dignity, which is important in its own right and as a means to advance prospects for a two-state solution,” the State Department said in a statement.

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The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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