In a rare move, the US embassy in Israel recently informed the Rav of Tzfas HaRav Shmuel Eliyahu that his visa to the United States has been revoked, Yisrael Hayom reported on Monday evening.
The visa had not expired but was revoked in a move initiated by the State Department. The US embassy declined to provide information on the reason it was disqualified.
Israeli government officials estimate that it may be related to HaRav Eliyahu’s statements in the past about Israeli Arabs, including calling on Jews not to rent apartments to Arabs.
The revocation is a real blow to HaRav Eliyahu as he has been active in recent years in strengthening ties with American Jewry.
The report noted that HaRav Eliyahu is a fierce critic of the Reform movement and it’s possible that Reform activists played a part in the US decision to revoke his visa.
Yisrael Hayom asked the US Embassy for a statement on the issue but it responded that it does not address personal issues related to US visas.
HaRav Eliyahu’s office stated: “Despite numerous inquiries to the US Consulate, we did not receive any reason that would explain the denial of the visa, which had been valid for decades.”
“Our inquiries show that this is the action of anti-Zionists such as the Reform movement who frequently try to infringe on freedom of expression and silence Rabbanim. Having failed to silence HaRav Eliyahu via legal channels, they are now trying to silence the Rav in petty ways.”
The Reform movement in Israel is a vehement opponent of HaRav Eliyahu, who has served for decades in State positions as the Rav of Tzfas and a member of the Moetzet HaRabbanut HaReishis, and has tried to silence him via multiple appeals to the Supreme Court.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)