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January 30, 2017 12:12 pm

Jerusalem Seeking Clarifications From Trump Administration on Status of 140,000 Israeli Citizens Born in Travel-Ban Countries

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Yemenite Jews waiting for a flight to Israel in Aden in 1949. Photo: Kluger Zoltan / Israeli National Photo Archive via Wikimedia Commons.

Yemenite Jews waiting for a flight to Israel in Aden in 1949. Photo: Kluger Zoltan / Israeli National Photo Archive via Wikimedia Commons.

Israel is seeking clarifications from the Trump administration regarding the status of its citizens who were born in the countries covered by the travel ban executive order issued on Friday that has sparked global controversy, the Hebrew news site nrg reported on Monday.

According to the report, Israeli entreaties to the US Embassy in Tel Aviv and the government in Washington, DC on the matter have gone unanswered thus far.

Around 140,000 Israelis were born in one of the seven Muslim-majority countries subject to the three-month travel restrictions put in place by the executive order — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Most are older Jews who made aliyah in their youth or young adulthood, due to persecution they faced in their home countries following Israel’s establishment.

Some 53,000 living Israeli Jews were born in Iraq and 45,000 were born in Iran, data published by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics shows. Syria, Yemen and Libya also used to host large Jewish communities.

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Israeli passports include place of birth, and it is unknown how the executive order applies either to people who were born in the banned countries but are no longer citizens — or to those who are dual citizens.

According to media reports, some immigration attorneys are advising Israelis in these situations to avoid travel to the US for now.

Meir Javedanfar — an Iranian-born Israeli who teaches at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya — tweeted on Sunday, “Uncertainty & sheer confusion which the new Trump immigration law has created is sign of incompetence + lack of plan. US caught unprepared.”

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