UPDATES 7 pm Israel time, Monday, February 24 2014:
*Shabak announced today that it had made a major arrest of a Hamas terror cell that has been responsible for ongoing attacks against Israeli motorists on Samarian Road 443 (often mentioned in this blog).
This particular cell consists of 15 members whose members had assaulted Israelis with “rocks”, Molotov cocktails, and IEDs. All of the cell members are Palestinian residents of Beit Ur Tahta near Modi’in.
*Another terrorist attack was thwarted last night when soldiers from the Netzach Yehuda Battalion intercepted two Palestinian terrorists near the town of Enav in northern Samaria.
The terrorists were in the possession of pipe bombs, fire bombs, diesel fuel, face masks, and a flag of the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine).
By the way, the Netzach Yehuda Brigade is also known as the Nahal Haredi–and consists of orthodox soldiers who strictly observe halacha. It is based around Jenin.
It has always perplexed your humble servant that the U.S. requires that all Israelis obtain a visa before traveling to America. Given the close relationship between the two countries, one would have thought that this requirement would have been waived long ago.
But it hasn’t, and according to the latest statistics, 125,000 Israelis were forced to apply for U.S. visas in 2013.
What is even more troublesome, however, is that the number of visa applications that are being rejected is steadily rising. In 2007, 2.5% of Israeli applications were rejected by the U.S. State Department; in 2012, 5.4% were rejected; last year, 9.7% were rejected.
By the way, the citizens of 37 other countries do not need a visa to enter the U.S.:
Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.
So what is now stopping Israel from receiving visa-exempt status?
Two words: Barack Obama.
Obama refuses to grant Israel visa-exempt status because Israel does not allow “free entry” into Israel for Muslims from the United States.
And why doesn’t Israel allow “free entry” for such Muslims? Because many American Muslims are naturalized American citizens who have immigrated to the United States from countries which are technically and literally “at war” with Israel–and believe that Israel does not have the right to exist. Israel demands the right to scrutinize such tourists before they enter Israel.
It would be easy to draw the conclusion that the increasing number of rejected visa applications are a direct result of an Obama State Department following what it believes are the inclinations of the President.
I leave it for you, dear reader, to make the call.