Israel’s participation in the U.S. visa waiver program will bring Israelis and Americans, as well as Israel and the U.S., closer than ever. Across our families, communities, congregations and summer camps we have seen the way love, relationships and understanding can flourish when we are able to be together. Given the deep and historic bonds between the U.S. and Israel, allowing our citizens to visit the other for limited stays without a visa makes sense.
As the program rolls out, it is essential that Israel’s commitment to equal treatment for Palestinian-Americans under this program be upheld. To do otherwise is to risk the VWP becoming a hindrance, rather than a help, on the path to ever stronger U.S.-Israel ties and a peaceful future for Israelis and Palestinians alike.
During this holiday season, we are reminded of the blessing of being together with those we love. Today’s announcement will ease that process for thousands of individuals and families. We express our appreciation to President Biden, Secretary Blinken, and Secretary Mayorkas and we congratulate and commend Prime Minister Netanyahu and the successive Israeli governments and many dedicated civil servants who have worked tirelessly to achieve this milestone for Israelis and Americans alike.
Rabbi Rick Jacobs (he/him)
President, Union for Reform Judaism
Rabbi Josh Weinberg (he/him)
Director, Association of Reform Zionists of America