Taken Question
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 6, 2012

QUESTION: Please provide the facts in the case of the American woman from St. Louis who was deported from Israel and was allegedly told by the Embassy that they couldn’t help her because she was not Jewish.

ANSWER: The State Department’s number one priority is the protection of U.S. citizens overseas, and we will provide assistance to any U.S. citizen who requests it, regardless of the citizen’s religious or ethnic background.  An official from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv spoke via telephone with this citizen to check on her safety and welfare while she was detained at Ben Gurion Airport.  The Embassy remained in contact with local authorities until a decision was made regarding her entry into Israel.  Decisions about entry are up to the Government of Israel.

We encourage U.S. citizens to review the Country Specific Information on our web site at travel.state.gov before traveling overseas.  The pages contain information about entry/exit requirements. For example, it states that all persons applying for entry to Israel, the West Bank or Gaza may be denied entry or exit without explanation. 

PRN: 2012/900