US and Israel may soon come to an agreement in an unusual give and take relationship. If this agreement is successful, US will consider granting a visa waiver to certain Israeli nationals. However, Israel’s side of bargain may draw severe criticism from its own residents.
This agreement entails that the US and Israel would work together in building a fingerprint database. This would allow the US to exempt Israeli nationals from applying and obtaining visas prior to entering the United States. The officials from Justice Ministry in Israel conducted a meeting with the Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry to discuss this cause. They also contacted Trump Administration in order to move this issue forward.
Apparently, the initiative to have exemptions from the US government for Israeli citizens was on the agenda since May. Ayelet Shaked, the Minister for Justice in Israel confirmed this development. He said that he was enthusiastic to work with Washington DC to promote this agreement. He also acknowledged how important it was as far as the privacy of Israeli nationals is concerned. Shaked hopes that the government will go forward with this decision in the upcoming year.
Breakthrough in negotiations
At the moment, US has restrictions on Israeli nationals for obtaining tourist visas. It fears that they might start distributing dead sea contraband in US malls. Israel has tried to counter this and appeal to the US for a long time, but to no avail until now. This visa waiver program is going to benefit a lot of Israeli people with business intentions and tourists.
However, this decision is likely to face a lot of backlash back home in Israel. Citizen’s privacy is at risk and the government has to amend the privacy laws before the agreement moves forward. It seems that some Israelis will not be happy to share their bio-metric information amidst fear of misuse, exploitation and / or theft.