The U.S.-Israel relationship is grounded in shared values and mutual interests. One way the ties between the two countries is manifest is in the significant travel that takes place for personal, family and business purposes, and of course for tourism.
It is estimated that some 450,000 Israelis travel annually to the U.S., with 93 weekly direct flights from Israel to U.S. airports. And the demand for travel is rising.
In our community, we are well aware of relatives, friends and business associates who come to this country every day for various reasons.
This makes Israel’s proposed participation in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP)– which enables citizens of select countries to enter the U.S. for 90 days without a visa – a matter of great importance that deserves our support.
Indeed, admitting Israel as the 41st nation to qualify for the VWP would facilitate Israeli travel to the U.S., making for greater ease and efficiency. And, at a recent Senate hearing, it was estimated that Israel’s acceptance into the program would, over a 3-year period, generate billions in American revenue and thousands in increased employment.
Just as importantly, Israel’s acceptance into VWP gives concrete expression to the strong friendship and unbreakable bond between the two allies — the shared values and mutual interests that lay at the foundation of the relationship.
The U.S. and Israel have been working toward this goal and important steps have been taken to bring Israel closer to the goal of participation in VWP. But more work is needed to meet the September 30, 2023 deadline and make this goal a reality.
Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) are circulating a letter to colleagues calling on the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security to continue to move ahead and act expeditiously in completing the process and bring Israel into the VWP fold before the opportunity expires. The letter will close soon so we urge you to contact your Senators today to sign the Rosen-Scott letter and convey this vital message.