Visa request denied - Professor Ben-Artzi
Photo: University of Haifa
University of Haifa Rector, Professor Yossi Ben-Artzi, will have to forego an academic convention to be held in Alexandria this weekend after Egypt denied his visa request.
The Euro-Mediterranean University's convention brings together 120 academic institutions, and its Senate, which comprisess 30 members, convenes several times a year in different cities.
"I purchased a plane ticket to the Alexandria convention and sent my passport to the consulate in order to get a visa, yet to my surprise the passport came back with a rejection. The Egyptians did not explain why," Ben-Artzi said. He added that he wrote a letter to Egypt's ambassador to Israel but received no response.
After approaching the Foreign Ministry, the professor discovered this was not the first case where Cairo does not allow academicians to take part in conventions held in Egypt. Meanwhile, the Euro-Mediterranean University's Rector, Professor Joseph Mifsud, sent a letter of protest to Egypt's authorities.
Professor Ben-Artzi, who is among the founders of the Peace Now movement, said he was greatly disappointment by the visa denial.
"I still believe that the peace treaty with Egypt was one of Israel's greatest accomplishments since its inception, yet I'm disappointed that they're making political use of a means like a visa in order to prevent Israeli representation in an academic non-political event," he said.
Officials at Egypt's embassy in Tel Aviv said they are unfamiliar with the incident, and that the visa request was not denied deliberately.
"It may have been a technical mishap that stemmed from mishandling the forms or the failure to submit them on time," the embassy said. However, University of Haifa said that the forms were filled out by professionals and submitted three weeks ago.
Ali Waked contributed to the report