Israel denies entry to American student even though she had a visa

Passengers departing from Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv. (photo: Ofer Vaknin / Haaretz)
The Population, Immigration and Border Authority said entry was denied “because of boycott activity.”

By Noa Landau | Haaretz | OCt 3, 2018

[The student] was showed an photo of herself taken from the right-wing website Canary Mission, which claims to track and document ‘people and groups that promote hatred of the USA, Israel and Jews on North American college campuses.’

Israel prevented on Tuesday the entry of Lara Alqasem, a 22-year-old American student whose grandparents are Palestinian, despite her having recently been granted an A/2 Student Visa for her masters’ degree in the Hebrew University.

Alqasem’s visa was granted by the Israeli consulate in Miami, and is valid for a year. However, when she landed in Ben-Gurion International Airport Tuesday night, she was refused entry into Israel.

The Population, Immigration and Border Authority said entry was denied “because of boycott activity,” adding she would remain at the airport until her appeal against the deportation is heard, scheduled for 2 pm.

The Authority also said the approval of the visa from the Israeli consulate in Miami was a result of “lack of coordination” with missions around the world. According to Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry, Lara Alqasem was a member of an organization called “National Students for Justice in Palestine.”

Yotam Ben Hillel, Alqasem’s attorney, said the official cause was “prevention of illegal immigration,” despite the aforementioned visa, and also “concern for public order.”

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