19 Brits sought help after being denied entry to Israel in 2018
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

19 Brits sought help after being denied entry to Israel in 2018

Issue of British nationals not being allowed into the Jewish state is raised in parliament with the Middle East minister

Alistair Burt
Alistair Burt

The issue of British nationals being denied entry into Israel under new laws banning boycotters has been raised in Parliament, after the Government said 19 Brits had sought consular assistance in 2018.

Middle East Minister Alistair Burt revealed the figure in the House of Commons for the first time this week in response to a question from the Green Party’s sole MP Caroline Lucas.

Burt said he did not know how many Brits had been denied entry since the Israeli law passed in 2017, because Israeli authorities did not provide the data, but said: “In 2018 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office received 19 requests for assistance from British nationals held at the Israeli border.”

Israeli politicians passed the Entry into Israel Law in March 2017, banning foreigners who make “public calls for boycotting Israel” or “any lands under its control,” including settlements, or who belong to organisations which call for boycotts.

Critics said it violates the right to free speech and fails to distinguish between those who advocate the boycott of Israel and the boycott of settlements, and more recent examples of Brits denied entry suggests that Israeli authorities are extending the ban to cover those who criticise Israel, even if they do not advocate a boycott.

While acknowledging Israel’s right to set its own immigration police, the lack of clarity led Sir Simon McDonald, permanent secretary at the FCO, to raise the issue with Israeli peers directly. Three weeks after the Israeli law passed, the then Middle East Minister Tobias Ellwood appeared to suggest it was misplaced.

“The British Government is strongly opposed to the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel,” said Ellwood. “But we believe the best way to combat this movement is through argument rather than legislation.”

Help perform the greatest mitzvah: save a life

While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.

That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.

We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.

Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”

read more:
comments