Long-Sought Policy Initiative Formally Enacted; Lauder: "Program strengthens security ties between the US and Israel"
NEW YORK, Sept. 27, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Reacting to the U.S. government's invitation to the State of Israel to join the Visa Waiver Program, World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder said:
"I applaud and commend President Biden, Secretary Blinken, Secretary Mayorkas and the entire Biden Administration for its leadership in accomplishing what has long been identified as a major bilateral priority. I also congratulate Israel and commend the successive governments and dedicated civil servants who have worked tirelessly toward Israel's acceptance.
"Two years ago, President Biden publicly pledged that the U.S. would help Israel in "fulfilling the requirements" for entry into the program. Today, U.S. officials announced that Israel will become the 41st country to join this coveted program. By virtue of its entry into the program, VWP is strengthening security ties between the U.S. and Israel. As all Israelis gain access to the program later this year, it will undoubtedly strengthen business ties, expand people-to-people connections and promote cross-cultural understanding.
"Jewish communities across the United States have significant equities at stake, and community leaders nationwide have made their voices heard in support of Israel's bid. As I said back in July, at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding by Ambassadors Michael Herzog and Thomas Nides, our schools, summer camps, sister city relationships and myriad other cross-cultural programs will benefit immeasurably, as will so many families with relatives in both countries.
"Israel's entry into the program also includes commitments for reciprocal privileges and equal treatment for all U.S. passport holders, which is also of vital importance, and I urge others to acknowledge the extent of the commitments and changes Israel has enacted, as the U.S. government has done with its announcement today."
SOURCE Ronald S. Lauder