Norwegian flags flutter at Karl Johans street in Oslo, Norway May 31, 2017..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israelis Dor Tibi, 23, and Anan Hamoud, 21, were looking forward to traveling through Norway and volunteering on Norwegian farms. The friends, who had met in the Air Force, traveled from Tel Aviv to Istanbul and then to Oslo Airport, Gardermoen.
But at passport control problems began, the Norwegian newspaper Dagen reported on Tuesday. After the usual questions, they were moved to a separate room for additional questioning. To their surprise, the officials told them that working with WWOOF, the Norwegian volunteer organization with branches all over the world, is illegal in Norway without a work visa. The friends found this difficult to understand since WWOOF was completely based on volunteerism and no official work was involved.
The two Israelis were left in the room and the officials claimed they were working on the case. Later, they were photographed and fingerprinted, and told they were being sent to a refugee camp. The friends asked if they could just check into a hotel instead since they had enough money to stay in Norway for a month. When that request was denied, they offered to arrange new flights to Israel.
This request was denied as well and the friends requested a lawyer. Their troubles were far from over after a lawyer arrived, but was unable to communicate with them due to his poor English.
Tibi and Hamoud were then transported to the Trandum refugee camp in a prison car. At the refugee camp they were told that, as Israelis, the camp may be dangerous for them. Many of the refugees were completely lacking documentation and it was possible that some could be associated with ISIS. But they reassured the two that they would house them in a safe area. After taking all their personal possessions, the two were subjected to a humiliating strip-search. Dor and Anan were detained in Trandum for two days.
They flew home to Tel Aviv on April 15, with a stopover in Istanbul.
“The police followed us on board the plane through a separate entrance and showed our passes to the captain. The same thing happened in Turkey. We felt like criminals. It was like a scene in a movie,” Anan told Dagen.
The two are now safely at home in Israel.
Following confirmation requests from The Jerusalem Post
to the Norwegian Embassy in Israel, an official said the queries were “forwarded to Norwegian Police for them to provide the required answers.”
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