Israeli Residents Will Soon No Longer Need Visas to Enter U.S.
By Yehudit Garmaise
As of November 30, Israeli citizens will no longer need to get visas to enter the United States for 90 days, now that Israel is the 41st nation to be admitted into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
"As many as 450,000 Israelis travel each year to the U.S.," shares Agudath Israel, which has long advocated Israel’s acceptance into the VWP.
Ninety-three direct flights from Israel land in U.S. airports, every week, plus many more with connections.
“The U.S.-Israel relationship is grounded in shared values and mutual interests, and Israel’s acceptance into VWP gives concrete expression to the strong friendship and unbreakable bond between the two allies,” says Rabbi Abba Cohen, the vice president for government affairs and the Washington director of Agudath Israel.
While Agudath Israel has been asking supporters to write their senators to vote for Israel’s admission into the VWP, several months ago, Rabbi Cohen wrote a letter that urged U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas to accept Israel into the VWP.
“In our community, we enjoy and interact with the many Israeli relatives, friends, and business associates who come to this country every day to reunite, to attend family occasions, to establish commercial connections, and to tour our great nation,” wrote Rabbi Cohen. “We have also witnessed and shared the disappointment, frustration, and financial loss that can be suffered when visas and appointments are delayed or hit snags.”
Israel’s acceptance into the VWP also can greatly benefit the American economy, Rabbi Cohen pointed out. Easing the admission of Israeli citizens to the U.S. could generate billions of dollars over a three-year period, according to a recent Senate testimony. In addition, American employment could see increased revenue by the thousands of dollars, as Rabbi Cohen noted.
“We thank the American and Israeli delegations for the hundreds of hours of dedication and hard work they put into reaching this milestone,” Rabbi Cohen concludes.