The executive order issued by President Donald Trump preventing nationals of seven mainly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. could apply as well to tens of thousands of Israelis born in those countries.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon confirmed to the AFP that Israeli authorities were reaching out to the U.S. for clarification as to whether the ban covers Israeli citizens. An estimated 140,000 people originally from those seven countries currently reside in Israel, including around 45,000 Iranians and 53,000 Iraqis.
The majority are over the age of 65 and many were refugees who fled persecution. Their Israeli passports state their country of origin.
The U.S. Consulate in Yerushalayim referred a question submitted by AFP to the State Department, earlier on Monday, but several hours later was still waiting for an answer.
Michael Wildes, a partner at the Wildes and Weinberg immigration law firm in the U.S., told Arutz Sheva the wording of the executive order was unclear.
It refers to “aliens from countries” but does not explain how citizenship is defined, he said.
“Either Congress is going to legislate or the president is going to clarify the executive order, but until then I advise anybody who hails from those countries against travelling.”
The 90-day ban is aimed at giving U.S. authorities time to assess potential terror threats from Yemen, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, and Somalia.