Significant progress has been made on the way to visa waiver for Israelis who wish to enter the United States. For the first time, Israel is now willing to reach understandings with the United States over the issue of the fingerprint database, an agreement that has not been made in the past, Channel 2 News reported.
The first meeting of the joint interministerial team of the Foreign Affairs, Justice and Prime Minister’s Offices was held Monday. The team, which was appointed by prime minister Netanyahu, is led by Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, who has already begun the process with the previous administration – but only now is Israel agreeing to the move.
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The Israeli Ministry of Justice is in contact with the relevant authorities in the Trump administration to find a way to establish a fingerprint database and give Americans access to it while minimizing the harm to the privacy of Israeli citizens. At this stage, it is clear that this is a threshold requirement, that the US administration will not compromise, and that internal Israeli legislative changes will be needed to enable it.
According to the biometrics law: “the biometric information will be stored in a dedicated database that will be managed by a separate authority – the Biometric Database Management Authority. The biometric information will be stored securely in the database, encrypted and separated from the Internet and from any other communications network and deleted from the Population and Migration Authority’s computers. The biometric database shall contain no identifying, biographical, or demographic details of the applicant.”
A US visa waiver would constitute a significant change for many Israelis, especially since it appears the new deal would include reducing the number of Israelis who have been refused entry for various reasons. So, the heck with government-guaranteed privacy – we’re going to Disneyland.
It should be noted that eliminating the need for a visa to the United States will constitute a very significant change for many Israelis. At the same time, Israel is working to reduce the number of Israelis who have been refused entry for various reasons.