The American citizen community in Israel is up in arms regarding the treatment of numerous young American families at the United States Embassy in Jerusalem.
On Monday March 13, the young families arrived at the US Embassy on David Flusser Street in Jerusalem to register their newborn babies for emergency passports. These families wish to return to the US for Pesach, and had arranged emergency passport appointments via the Embassy’s new appointment website.
Yet when they arrived bright and early Monday morning – dad, mom, and newborn in tow – they were brusquely refused entry. Embassy employees stood outside and explained that as of this very morning, the rules had changed: Any person without previously documented US citizenship could not receive an emergency passport. While the parents held proof of citizenship, and their children were eligible for citizenship, the new rules precluded the newborns from being given passports.
The young families argued that no one had notified them of any rule change. They had made legitimate appointments in the past few days and had schlepped out early, most of the mothers barely a week after birth. But their words fell on deaf ears.
Embassy employees responded callously and threatened to call security if the applicants wouldn’t move off of the public grass. One employee rudely announced that he is the only one capable of assisting them – and that he refuses to do so.
In the unseasonably hot March sun, the new moms and their babies sweltered outside with no proper place to sit, while the men tried to reason with the employees, but to no avail.
The same thing happened at the Tel Aviv Embassy Branch Office, as well.
Baruch Reisman, whose wife gave birth just five days ago, stated, ”I have 5 other children at home; I had to arrange a babysitter to leave home at 6:40 am. We arrived for our appointment and were sent away. I am extremely disappointed that this is how the Embassy treated my wife and I, who are both American citizens.”
Another one of those mistreated added, “We are American citizens and have the legal right to be helped. I asked to speak to a supervisor and was told to get lost. Our experience at the embassy leaves me wondering: what advantage does being American give me?
Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, service at the US Embassy has been lackluster. American citizens have needed to wait many months for appointments, and many have anteed up money to ‘machers’, who expedite appointments. Today’s events, however, represent a new low.
Says P., a dad who was refused entry, “My child has the legal right to an American passport. If American embassies don’t uphold the law and honor their word, we’re in trouble. We had a legitimately scheduled appointment, yet we were treated like criminals.”Rena Adler, who was treated discourteously and was sent home, concludes, “ For the first time in my life, I am embarrassed to be an American citizen.”
(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)