Biden official: Israel’s entrance into visa-free travel to US ‘looking promising’

The officials also said President Joe Biden is seeking compromise between the coalition and opposition on future bills relating to the judicial reform.

By World Israel News Staff

A senior official at the National Security Council, which advises the U.S. president, said on Monday that Israel’s entry into the coveted visa waiver program was looking “promising.”

Israel launched a pilot program this month easing Palestinian Americans’ travel in and out of the  country with the aim of being accepted into the VWP at the end of September.

The move would allow Israelis to receive immediate entry to the U.S. for 90 days – forgoing a grueling application process that includes a consular interview, a hefty fee and long waits.

Sutton, who assisted Nides on efforts to gain Israel entry into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, cited the announcement during Herzog’s visit that Washington and Jerusalem had signed a Memorandum of Understanding on a pilot program.

“I was doubtful, to be honest, just because the list of requirements is so onerous—that go way beyond reciprocity, like data-sharing,” Sutton, who served as chief of staff to former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides, said.

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“But it is looking much more promising,” she added.

Terry Wolff, the council’s senior director for Middle East and North Africa who also took part in the briefing, said that U.S. President Joe Biden was seeking compromise on future bills relating to the judicial reform.

“Some folks will decide based on what they’ve heard—and the fact that a good number of folks boycotted the vote—that it’s all over,” Wolff said. “But I think the president’s argument and his perspective has been that it’s really important that the sides get together, that they talk and that discussion should not be over.”

JNS contributed to this article.