A little-discussed, yet far-reaching issue on the US-Israel bilateral agenda is Israel’s long-running quest to join the United States’ Visa Waiver Program (VWP). In his first year and a half in office, US President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has elevated the issue, and efforts to achieve Israel’s entry are gaining momentum after remaining stagnant during the Trump presidency. Yet a number of hurdles remain, including lowering Israel’s visa refusal rate, legislative action that Israel must take to align with data-sharing requirements, and compliance with the program’s reciprocity benchmarks.
A new issue brief by Ruth Marks Eglash and Scott Lasensky examines the background and context of renewed US-Israel VWP negotiations and assesses both the challenges and opportunities for progress for Israel’s entry into the program. Amid Israel’s upcoming election and the prioritization of the issue by the Biden administration, their new Issue Brief argues for both parties to capitalize on recent momentum to push forward continued high-level involvement and Israel’s commitments to meet all outstanding eligibility criteria in order to finally achieve this long-sought-after goal.
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MENASource Jul 13, 2022
Biden is visiting Israel. Travel is squarely on the agenda.￼
By Ruth Marks Eglash and Scott Lasensky
One lesser-known element of Washington’s alliance with Israel will be squarely on US President Joe Biden’s agenda: Israel’s long-running quest to join America’s visa waiver program.
MENASource Jun 24, 2022
The Israeli government collapse was a curveball for Biden’s upcoming visit. But it shows the depth of the US-Israel relationship.
By Daniel B. Shapiro
President Joe Biden’s team was thrown a curveball on June 20, as the year-old coalition built by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid finally gave way to internal pressures.
Through our Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative, the Atlantic Council works with allies and partners in Europe and the wider Middle East to protect US interests, build peace and security, and unlock the human potential of the region.