The Population, Immigration and Border Authority last month issued a directive implementing the recently-passed law that blocks entry to Israel of visitors because of “BDS activity.”
The regulation, entitled “Handling entries at Israel’s international border crossings,” lists 28 reasons for refusing someone entry to Israel, and constitutes the first time such a policy has been set down in writing. “BDS activity” is specifically listed. The regulation follows the passing of a law this past March that forbids the issuance of a visa or other entry permit to foreign citizens who have called for a boycott of Israel or the settlements.
Other reasons the regulation gives for refusing entry include risk of security or criminal activity; lies told at the border; suspected intent to remain in Israel illegally; lack of cooperation with border officials; an inappropriate visa; entry with the intent to work illegally; disrupting public order; impersonation; violent behavior; suspected intent to carry out missionary activity and past refusal of entry or illegal presence. Another reason to refuse entry is “suspicion of becoming a burden on the state,” presumably meaning someone suspected of not having the financial means to finance his stay in Israel.
The regulation makes it clear that this is not a definitive list and that border guards are permitted to refuse entry for other reasons as well.
In February Haaretz reported that the number of people refused entry to Israel has jumped almost ninefold over the past five years. In 2016 Israel refused entry to 16,534 persons, compared to only 1,870 in 2011. The primary reason for the increase has been the sharp and ongoing rise in the number of Ukrainians, Georgians and Egyptians being refused entry. In 2016 citizens of those three countries made up 68 percent of the refusals. Israel has also refused entry to thousands of people from Western countries in recent years, including the United States, Germany, Great Britain, France and Italy.