JERUSALEM (Sep. 14)
The Interior Ministry has lifted the ban on an entry permit for Meyer Lansky. The 79-year-old Lansky, allegedly connected with organized crime in the U.S., has not been allowed to visit Israel since the early 1970s. His repeated requests to come here as a tourist were turned down because he was considered “dangerous to the public welfare.”
The Ministry changed its mind only after Lansky recently appealed to Israel’s Supreme Court which handed down a show cause order compelling the Interior Ministry to explain why he should not be permitted to visit the country on a tourist visa. Eight years ago Lansky wanted to stay here on an immigrant visa but was turned down by the Interior Ministry. After he failed to obtain a court order against the Ministry he was expelled from the country.
Last June Interior Minister Yosef Burg granted Lansky a tourist visa, but later changed his mind. Lansky then appealed to the Supreme Court which gave Burg 30 days to respond. The 30 days expired just before Rosh Hashanah.
A senior official in the Ministry explained that the Ministry took into consideration Lansky’s age and poor health. In a telephone interview with Israel TV from his Miami home, Lansky expressed gratitude at the decision and praised the courage of the Interior Ministry. He said he does not care if he is given an immigrant or a tourist visa, as long as he is granted permission to visit Israel.