Iran-born Israeli physicist denied visa by United States
An international seminar on quantum mechanics due to be held at Temple University in Philadelphia in three weeks is liable to be ruined because the man who organized it over the past three years, an Israeli academic who was born in the Islamic Republic of Iran, is being denied permission to enter the country. He left Iran at the age of three.
The United States has made trouble for several Israelis of Iranian origin because of concerns about terrorism by Iranians. Dr. Avshalom Elitzur of Bar-Ilan University in Israel was distressed on Sunday after "getting no help at all" in resolving the issue either from Raymond Toma of the US Consulate in Tel Aviv or Yoram Ben-Ze'ev of the Foreign Ministry.
"I received my tourist visa to the US, in effect through 2005, on my old passport, but I thought it was best to have it stamped in my new passport as well," Elitzur told The Jerusalem Post. "But when I went to the embassy in Tel Aviv, they said it would take months to conduct a security check on me because I was born in Iran. I am a Jew, an Israeli, not an Iranian terrorist, and my family was persecuted in Iran. I can't understand why the Americans are doing this."
Elitzur added that if he had gone to the United States with the old passport, no one would have caused him any trouble. His going to the embassy for a new passport was an innocent mistake.
"The top experts in quantum mechanics, including Nobel Prize winners, will be at the conference I organized, and if I am not there to chair the event, it will be ruined. It's the most important quantum mechanics symposium in a decade," he strongly made clear.
Elitzur added that he visits the US regularly and was last there 18 months ago. In the meantime, Israel Space Agency chairman Yuval Ne'eman, parliament members, and Temple University officials are trying to intervene on his behalf so he can enter the United States, the daily added.
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)