The American expatriate community in Israel has been roiled in recent weeks over the ongoing difficulties in obtaining US passports in Israel.
Wait times for appointments at the US Embassy in Jerusalem can be many long months. The problem is particularly acute leading up to the pre-Pesach travel season. Especially affected are parents of babies born in recent months. The inability to obtain Consular Reports of Birth Abroad and first time passports are preventing many families from traveling home to the US for Pesach.
The situation has been been further exacerbated by a new rule cancelling emergency passport appointments for newborns. Until recently, emergency passports had been a solution for families with newborns seeking to track home for Pesach.
Now, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D- CT) has issued a scathing letter to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. In his missive, Blumenthal expresses deep concern about the difficulties experienced by US citizens in Israel. He also questions if similar delays are affecting US citizens in other countries, as well.
Blumenthal is a prominent Democrat Senator, and his letter is expected to be taken seriously by State Department officials. Characterizing the situation as ‘unacceptable’, the Senator closes his letter by demanding a response no later than March 22.
Additionally, a group of seven bipartisan Congressmen have sent a letter to the State Department demanding answers over the ongoing crisis at the US Embassy in Israel.
US citizens in Israel are encountering inexplicable difficulties obtaining passports. These seemingly unnecessary obstacles are deeply frustrating before the Passover holiday. I am demanding that the State Department end these delays. pic.twitter.com/fD8s0wxceg
— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) March 18, 2023
(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)
Senator Shoe-mer! It’s all been taken care of. It’s been rectified! By April 15th, after the Easter holiday break, all persons seeking passports to travel back to the U.S. will get their requests fulfilled.
If only I had a way to let him know… A big part of the problem is that a number of individuals hog away the entirety of the appointments, and then make money by selling them at an exorbitant price (more expensive than signing up for an actual passport – which in itself is really expensive!). What results is the rest of us fighting away to try and secure an appointment, with the only ones usually months away, even while family trips that are in planning for over a year are looming closer
The US Embassy in Israel should issue a statement as follows: “A lack of prior planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on our part.”
no later than March 22 i.e. יום-כיפור-קטן because the embassy staff & state department are going to have to repent for their callousness to these USA Citizens based in Israel.
I wonder what Sen Blumenthal means when he writes “I understand that the US embassy in Israel announced a new appointment system in early February with the goal of reducing the number of fraudulently obtained appointments.”
Fraudulently obtained appointments?
dear arizona this is not about prior planning this is about babies born very recently
When was the last time a YWN headline referenced Blumenthal as a “prominent” anything??
Apparently, the Embassy staff don’t consider flying back to the U.S. for Pesach to be an “emergency” as compared to death, serious illness etc.
If it is true that people are selling appointments, they should be prosecuted and publicly shamed. Is everything about $ ? Pathetic!
Fraudulently obtained appointment – this refer to people getting most and then selling them. The new system is supposed to prevent this.
The main issue isn’t so much passports, but the lack of israeli visa for non israeli citizens. Without the visa, the baby can’t get on bituach leumi and can’t always get medical insurace (if they are jaundice or have any pending tests on the release forms from the hospital.)
Apparently, it is inappropriate to point out here that US State Department employees at that same location are accessories to war crimes?..
Schmendrik; Not “inappropriate”…just stupid and mindless at your end to reference State Department staff are “accessories to war crimes”.