Strike Leaves Maccabiah Athletes Without Visas
Visa application processing halted by foreign ministry strike
The Israel Foreign Ministry employee strike is causing problems for the Maccabiah games, scheduled to begin on July 18, the Times of Israel reports. Because of the strike, visa application processing has been suspended, barring dozens of athletes from entering the country. Eyal Tiberger, head of the Maccabi World Union, has requested help from the special case committee, which is usually granted solely for the purpose of saving lives.
“The teams have been preparing for over two years, and have already purchased their flight tickets and packed their bags,” the Maccabi director wrote.
But the workers’ union said that it was the move of the Treasury Department, and that they would only begin providing the needed documents “when the Finance Ministry decides to sit down for proper talks and negotiations,” JTA reports.
The 14 countries being affected are: Armenia, Aruba, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia,Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Moldova, Nicaragua, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
But it’s not just athletes who have been disturbed. Diaspora Jews awaiting aliyah have had their moves put on hold as well.
The strike has gotten worse in its third month, Liel Leibovitz explained last week:
Earlier this week, the Treasury, taking the hard line, ordered a host of economic sanctions against the striking diplomats, instructing that their pay be further cut. In retaliation, the foreign ministry announced that it would not only bring to a halt all visits of Israeli dignitaries abroad, but also curtail visits of foreign dignitaries to Israel. The strike now enters its third month, with no sign of abating. It’s high noon in Jerusalem.
This is the 19th year of the Maccabiah games, which will last two weeks.