Frequent Israeli visitors to the US will soon have an easier time passing through customs thanks to a revamped customs procedure. Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and visiting US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano signed a letter of intent to that effect on Sunday.
The agreement would enable Israel’s admission into the Global Entry program, which enables regular visitors to the US to utilize a streamlined, computerized customs procedure. The program is aimed at business travelers, diplomats, and those who have family in both countries.
“This process reflects the close cooperation between Israel and the United States, and is another in the historical covenant between the countries,” said Liberman. “We enjoy a fruitful and successful cooperation with the US on all subjects and I hope this agreement will in the future make things as easy for as many people as possible.”
Liberman stressed the close working relationship on security matters between Israel and the US, both internationally and at home.
“We are joining forces with the US in all security matters, including the battle against terror attacks in the skies and ‘cyber-terror,’ as well as striving to learn from the US how to deal with internal security matters such as illegal immigration and infiltration that brings with it trafficking in women and drug smuggling.”
The foreign minister said that as part of the agreement an inter-ministerial team will travel from Israel to the US to learn how to deal with internal security problems.
Napolitano noted that she understands the security issues that Israel must deal with.
“The United States is committed to Israel’s security and the connection between the countries is stable, unbreakable, and important to both countries,” she said. “I am happy that during his years in the White House, President Barack Obama has continued to strengthen the ties between the countries.”
Napolitano added that the cooperation involved in the Global Entry program is a good example of the continually strengthening ties between the two countries.
“There are 1.5 million travelers between the two countries every year,” she said. “It is important that the wait [at border control] be as short and as comfortable as possible. Therefore, we want the program to become active as soon as possible.”
The letter of intent also contains a plan to simplify procedures for Israelis seeking to obtain US citizenship.