Weinberg-Connors arrived in Israel with the intention of making aliyah at a later stage. A-1 visas are only granted to those who are eligible to make aliyah according to the Law of Return.
aleft-wing Jewish American activist was detained and questioned by Interior Ministry officials on Wednesday, despite the fact that they have an A-1 Temporary Resident visa, because they have visited the West Bank in the past.
Julie Weinberg-Connors, 23, was eventually allowed into Israel, after being assisted by their lawyer.(‘They’ is Weinberg Connor’s preferred gender pronoun.)
Weinberg-Connors arrived in Israel with the intention of making aliyah (immigrating) at a later stage. A-1 visas are only granted to those who are eligible to make aliyah according to the Law of Return.
The officials initially denied Weinberg-Connors entry, citing “illegal immigration” to their lawyer and that the “civil administration does not want her in Israel,” according to journalist and educator Daniel Roth, who was in touch with Weinberg-Connors during the incident.
According to another source who was in touch with Weinberg-Connors during their detention, the activist has an active aliyah file which was opened by the Jewish Agency. Two weeks ago, the Jewish Agency notified Weinberg-Connors that it was forwarding the aliyah file to the Interior Ministry because they had visited Area A in the past.
Weinberg-Connors was an intern with the NGO Encounter, has visited several areas in the West Bank and is a member of All That’s Left: Anti-Occupation Collective.
According to Weinberg-Connors’ account, when they arrived at the airport with their passport and visa, Weinberg-Connors was not questioned by the border officer but immediately directed to the Interior Ministry questioning area.
According to the source: “An officer there — who never identified himself — asked Julie if they had ever visited the West Bank. Julie said they had visited Bethlehem, major cities, and several other places. When Julie mentioned visiting Khan al Amar in the past, the officer said, ‘You cannot enter Israel.’ When Julie asked why, the officer said, ‘Because you’re here to make trouble.'”
The Population and Immigration Authority told Channel 10 News that Weinberg-Connors had planned to visit the West Bank without the required permits, and admitted their entry after they committed to obtaining the necessary permit.
According to the source, however, Weinberg Connors had said they had no plans to visit the West Bank while in the country. Weinberg-Connors mentioned that they had a letter from their rabbi and had already been granted an A1 visa but said the officer responded that it didn’t matter, and that Weinberg-Connors was putting them on a flight back to America.
Weinberg-Connors contacted their lawyer, Leora Bechor. Weinberg-Connors said that after some time, during which officials proceeded with arrangements for deportation, an officer presented them with a document in English and Hebrew that said they would not enter Area A.; the officers informed Weinberg-Connors that they could sign the document or they would be deported, after which Weinberg-Connors signed the document and was granted entry.
Meretz MK Mossi Raz wrote on Twitter that Weinberg-Connors had previously lived in Israel for a year and had done community work here. “It appears that in the government’s struggle against democracy, it is abandoning Zionism and making the Law of Return be for right-wingers only,” he wrote.