Diplomatic sources tell The Times of Israel that US Ambassador Tom Nides is concerned by overly optimistic messages from the Foreign Ministry implying that joining the US Visa Waiver Program is a done deal for Israel.
A statement earlier today from the Foreign Ministry said in its headline: “The visa to the US is being canceled!”
While Israel managed to get below the three-percent visa rejection rate, it must still pass a series of laws and establish systems to share information. A senior Homeland Security official told National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi and Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana today that if the Knesset does not pass the legislation by the April recess, it will not be able to meet the September deadline.
Nides released a video hailing the “important progress,” while warning that “we’re not there yet.”
“Israel now has a lot of work to do in a short period of time,” Nides continued. “The Knesset needs to act… the whole Israeli government will have to move quickly on many technical requirements.”
He also stressed that the “door will close” if Israel does not complete all the requirements by September.