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British Jewish organization’s new policy requires permission to travel beyond the green line

Israel Border Police guard outside the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, September 19, 2022. (Photo: Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

The United Jewish Israel Appeal (UJIA) of Great Britain has issued a new travel policy for Israel that requires special approval to visit Jewish sites located beyond the green line.

The green line designation refers to the demarcation lines that separates the Jewish state from the West Bank, Gaza and even Jerusalem’s Old City, according to the informal ceasefire resulting from the Armistice Agreements after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

The UJIA defended its new policy in an official statement.

[The policy] has been formulated to protect UJIA’s work in Israel, which includes its support for the Israel Experience program, run in partnership with the Jewish Agency for Israel and to comply with UJIA’s charitable obligations through our regulator, the Charity Commission, all while remaining neutral on the politics of the situation. As a charity, UJIA cannot promote any political position beyond its charitable purposes,” stated the UJIA.

Some have raised concerns that the new policy would potentially restrict access to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, known in Hebrew as the Kotel. However, UJIA has confirmed that there will not be any special permission to visit Western Wall orJerusalem’s Old City.

“Visiting the Kotel, for instance, will be granted,” said a spokesperson for the organization.

“We are happy to address some of the ways that our policy has been misunderstood. The purpose of our policy is not to prevent tour groups from visiting the Old City or elsewhere but the polar opposite: It protects those visits in a way that is absolutely watertight with regard to UK public policy and charity law,” added the spokesperson.

Efrat Council Head Oded Revivi, who previously served in the foreign liaison of the Yesha Council (Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria), criticized the British organization’s new travel policy.

“Avoiding visiting Jewish communities in areas that were occupied by Jordan from 1949 till 1967 only serves to further fragment the Jewish community and denies their participants the opportunity to meet Jews who are often unfairly maligned in the international media,” said Revivi.

In 2022, Britain’s now Prime Minister Rishi Sunak articulated his support for Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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