Israel Joins U.S. Visa Waiver Program

Israel joined the U.S. Visa Waiver Program on Wednesday, a decision that reflects the strength of Israel’s relations with the United States. The move “does not mean that Israeli citizens without U.S. visas can head for Ben-Gurion Airport now for a quick flight to the United States,” acting U.S. Ambassador to Jerusalem Stephanie Hallett said. Israelis still must undergo a bureaucratic process to travel to the United States. But it does allow Israeli citizens to travel to the United States for 90 days without a visa.

Inclusion in the Visa Waiver Program comes with many caveats, but Israelis will be happy for this greater opportunity to travel to and from the United States. This process came to fruition through the efforts of not only Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but also former Prime Ministers Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid, former US ambassador Tom Nides, and Israeli National Security Advisor Tzachi Hangebi, Hallet said. Israel’s partnership with the United States in this way shows another sign of valuable cooperation between these two democratic nations.