JNS quoted Rabbi Eric Fusfield, director of legislative affairs at B’nai B’rith International, in its coverage of Israel’s efforts to gain entry into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program.
As the Sept. 30 deadline looms for Israel to either gain entry into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, which it has sought for more than a decade or have to restart its application, questions loom about whether Washington’s entry requirements would create security risks for Israel.
A sticking point has been that Foggy Bottom would require Israel to treat all U.S. citizens equally—meaning Israeli border and other police could not subject U.S. citizens with ties to Palestinian-controlled areas to any extra screening.
“We have made clear, both publicly and privately, that the Visa Waiver Program needs to apply to all American citizens in Israel, whether they be in the West—and that includes whether they be in the West Bank or whether they be in Gaza,” said Matthew Miller, the U.S. State Department spokesman, during a press briefing on Aug. 1.
“We understand that there can be different procedures for Americans in the West Bank because of the different security situation there,” he added. “But we have made clear that the program needs to apply for Americans there as well and to the extent Israel needs to make changes to how they’re implementing the program now, that is something that we fully expect them to do.”
Rabbi Eric Fusfield, director of legislative affairs at B’nai B’rith International, told JNS that Israel’s inclusion into the program was vital to the U.S.-Israel relationship and would benefit both countries greatly.
“The two governments have been cooperating closely to reach a solution that will take into account both Israel’s crucial security concerns and the ability of visitors who meet qualifications to enter Israel,” he said. “We look forward to seeing them reach a successful conclusion.”