TEL AVIV (Jun. 22)
Police were called to the United States Embassy here yesterday to restore order after disturbances broke out among hundreds of Israelis waiting in line outside to apply for American tourist visas. The disputes were mostly over who was first in line. Many visa applicants camped outside the Embassy grounds overnight and many more were forced to wait for hours under a hot sun which aggravated frayed tempers.
American officials at the Consular Section which issues visas said the reason for the long waits was the meticulous check that is made of every visa application. They said the scrutiny was nothing out of the ordinary but was necessary because past experience showed that many Israelis who went to the U.S. as tourists remained there and tried to get permanent residence permits. The result is that it now takes weeks for some visas to be issued. Many students who intended to visit the U.S. during the summer holidays have had to cancel their plans because they would not be able to obtain visas before school reopens.