ארה"ב ויזה דרכון
U.S. visa
Photo: Shutterstock
Public Security Minister Omer Barlev, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem Jonathan Shrier and Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked

Israel inks key agreement with U.S. eyeing accession to Visa Waiver Program

Clearing another hurdle on Jewish state's way to join program, deal allows mutual sharing of information between Jerusalem and Washington as part of war against organized crime and terror

Itamar Eichner |
Published: 07.07.22, 11:43
Despite hitting a snag in virtue of the ongoing political crisis, Israel cleared on Thursday another hurdle on its way to joining the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (WVP) after Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked and Public Security Minister Omer Barlev signed a key information-sharing agreement (PSCS) with Washington.
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  • The agreement, which was signed in the presence of the Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem Jonathan Shrier, is another step toward exempting Israeli nationals from attaining a tourist visa before traveling to the U.S.
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    איילת שקד, עמר בר לב וג'ונתן שרייר
    איילת שקד, עמר בר לב וג'ונתן שרייר
    Public Security Minister Omer Barlev, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem Jonathan Shrier and Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked
    The program's first requirement was full disclosure of criminal and security information on travelers boarding U.S.-bound flights which was signed back in March.
    The second requirement pertains to the use of passenger name record (PNR) — a code that ties back to a database of information provided by passengers and collected by air carriers, which allows passengers to manage their booking or check-in online — whereby U.S. and Israeli authorities can uncover patterns of criminal behavior.
    By signing the second requirement, Israel will allow the mutual sharing of information with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
    "The agreement is important for cooperation between the two countries, and also an important step in promoting Israel's accession to the Visa Waiver program. It would also allow a stronger friendship between our countries," Shrier said.
    2 View gallery
    ארה"ב ויזה דרכון
    ארה"ב ויזה דרכון
    U.S. visa
    (Photo: Shutterstock)
    "The PSCS agreement is of strategic importance to the State of Israel," Baelev said. "It will regulate mechanisms to increase cooperation between the Israeli and U.S. administration in the war on organized crime and terrorism through advanced systems that will allow monitoring and detecting potential suspects."
    Last week, leaders of the outgoing Knesset's opposition parties told U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides they will pass the necessary legislation for Israel to qualify for the WVP. However, the legislation was blocked when opposition parties refused to back the bill before the Knesset's dispersal.
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