Democratic senator takes Biden administration to task over backlog at US embassy in Israel

Senator demands State Department end lengthy delays at U.S. embassy in Israel, noting massive delays ahead of Passover holiday.

By World Israel News Staff

A Democratic senator is demanding that the Biden administration improve service at the U.S. embassy in Israel, ending the lengthy delays that have made it difficult for Americans living in Israel to receive basic services, including passport renewal and certification of births abroad.

Richard Blumenthal, the senior U.S. Senator for Connecticut, publicly chided the State Department, penning an open letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, demanding he rectify the situation at the U.S. embassy in Israel ahead of the Passover holiday.

“U.S. citizens in Israel are encountering inexplicable difficulties obtaining passports,” Blumenthal tweeted over the weekend. “These seemingly unnecessary obstacles are deeply frustrating before the Passover holiday. I am demanding that the State Department end these delays.”

Americans living in Israel have reported severe difficulties in obtaining appointments at the embassy in recent weeks, and in some cases, even refusal by embassy officials to serve those who had made appointments, citing recent changes to the embassy’s rules.

The delays have raised concerns among Americans living in Israel ahead of the Passover festival, which begins on April 5th, that citizens who need to obtain passports – especially for newborn children – will be unable to join relatives in the United States for the holiday.

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“I write today with serious concerns over the apparent difficult U.S. citizens in Israel are having with obtaining appointments for passports and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad,” Blumenthal wrote to Blinken.

“These seemingly unnecessary, aggravating delays and obstacles have been particularly frustrating in advance of the upcoming Passover holiday, which is a time when U.S. citizens living in Israel often seek to travel home.”

“I am also concerned that these issues are not only affecting the U.S. Embassy in Israel and that U.S. citizens living abroad elsewhere may also be experiencing difficult in making timely appointments to obtain passports, particularly for newborn children.”

“I understand that the U.S. Embassy in Israel announced a new appointment system in early February with the goal of reducing the number of fraudulently obtained appointments. I also understand that, on March 10, the Embassy announced further changes to the new system that seemingly prevents those seeking new passports from traveling to the United States for Passover due to unknown delays.”

“The inability for U.S. citizens to schedule timely appointments and acquire a passport is simply unacceptable when people have a need for travel.”