|Photo by: Courtesy Western Wall Rabbi|
Israel, US move to expedite entry for frequent travelers
By GREER FAY CASHMAN AND HERB KEINON
Visit here by US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano focuses on cyber-terrorism.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and US Secretary for Homeland Security Janet
Napolitano signed a letter of intent Sunday regarding Israel’s entry into the US
Global Entry program that will speed up the time it takes frequent Israeli
visitors to enter the US.
The Global Entry program allows expedited
clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United
States. Though intended for frequent international travelers, there is no
minimum number of trips necessary to qualify for the program. Participants may
enter the United States by using automated kiosks located at select
Israel will join Britain, Holland, Austria, New Zealand, Japan
and Qatar in participating in the program, which is designed for diplomats,
businesspeople, and those who have relatives in the US.
Those who join
will pay a $100 fee and undergo a security check. Once they have registered,
they merely have to swipe a finger through a biometric identification machine on
arrival in the US, rather than go through border control.
Israel will set up a special line for frequent US visitors to Israel, who will
go through a similar procedure when landing at Ben-Gurion Airport.
signing of the agreement, Napolitano said 1.5 million people go back and forth
between the two countries each year, and that it was important to reduce the
time spent at the border crossings.
Following her meeting with Liberman,
she met with President Shimon Peres and said fighting cyber-terrorism was the
main focus of her visit. Escorting her to the meeting at Jerusalem’s King
David Hotel was a large contingent that included US Ambassador Dan Shapiro and
Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren.
The US relationship with
Israel is “strong and robust,” she said, citing offices in her own department
that interact with Israeli ministries, making for multiple cooperation
opportunities on both sides. American scientists have been talking to
their Israeli counterparts about explosives, she added.
The challenge of
cyber-terrorism is an important area for cooperation, she declared, pointing out
that “security, commerce, trade and travel do not have to be opposing
forces. If you’re smart about security, it will facilitate commerce and
Peres told the homeland security secretary that her position was
one of the most sensitive in the administration. He drew a parallel between
economics and security, saying that what was happening globally regarding the
economy could also be applied to security.
Nowadays, he said, “security
depends more on arms than the size of the army. You have a global economy
without a global government, and global terror without global
Globalism, he continued, makes national governments weaker,
with the result that people respect them less.
“You have to be alert
every morning,” he cautioned Napolitano.
Turning to the situation of
Iran, the president emphasized the importance of trying to avoid bloodshed, “but
not to give up on the essence.” Israel isn’t looking for enemies, he said, “but
we can’t close our eyes to danger.”
According to Peres, the greatest
danger comes from unorganized terror groups around the world, and the only
solution to this problem “is a broad-based coalition that will fight terror on