U.S. Links Tourist Travel to Israel to Return of Diplomats’ Families

The State Department does not intend to approve passports for Israel-bound American tourists until approximately 440 dependents of U.S. diplomatic personnel are able to return. This was made known today by State Department sources

The U.S dependents were removed when hostilities erupted last Autumn. Their return is linked to the development of conditions that, in the U.S. opinion, would permit resumption of economic and technical assistance programs. The United States Government is not yet convinced that conditions of peaceful stability prerequisite to a return of dependents are prevailing.

In the view of the State Department it would be unfair to approve tourist passports before separated American families are re-united.

(In Jerusalem, the Chief Rabbis of Israel appealed to the State Department to abolish the current ban on travel to Israel to permit the traditional Passover pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Chief Rabbis Isaac Halevi Herzog and Isaac Nissim made the appeal in a letter in which they noted that such Passover visits have been an uninterrupted custom for 3,000 years.)

With the first Passover Seder less than three weeks away, the American Jewish Congress has renewed its appeal to the State Department to lift the ban on travel to Israel so that American Jews can celebrate the holiday there. Dr. Israel Goldstein, AJC president, declared in a telegram to Secretary of State Dulles that “conditions in Israel have long since returned to normal” and the United States is the only country which continues to ban travel to Israel, raising a “serious question” as to whether the ban “is being employed as an instrument of foreign policy or as a form of economic sanctions against Israel.”

NEXT STORY