Visa woes keep Miss Israel from U.S. event

(JTA) — Miss Israel, Yityish Aynaw, could not get a visa on time to attend a Friends of the Israel Defense Forces event in New York.

“We had just three days to issue a visa,” an organizer for last week’s event was quoted by the Israeli news website Ynet as saying. “Bureaucratically, it was impossible.”

Aynaw, Israel’s first beauty queen of Ethiopian Jewish descent, is scheduled to meet with President Obama when he travels to Israel this week. 

U.S. Reps. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and Ted Poe (R-Texas) have drafted a bill that would waive visa restrictions for Israelis, but the legislation is being held up because of Israel’s relatively high visa rejection rate. 

Israeli officials recently asked younger citizens not to travel to the U.S. unless necessary in order to reduce the rate of visa rejections.

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