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Saudi Arabia: No Jews need apply

02/27/2004

Congressman Anthony Weiner has complained about the tourist visa policy of Saudi Arabia. Their policy is indeed illuminating, in the light of all the complaints about racial profiling at US airports. No Jewish people can get visas, and of course, no Israelis or people with an Israeli stamp in their passport can get tourist visas, at least not officially.

The policy was until very recently declared quite proudly at their Web site (this is the cached version):



Everyone who enters the Kingdom should have a valid passport with at least 6 months validity and the appropriate visa.


Unless you are a visitor from a GCC country or in transit, all other nationalities require a visa to enter the Kingdom.  Visas can be for business, tourist, transit, residency, family, Hajj, or conference attendance.


Visas can be obtained from the visa department in the Saudi Embassy of the visitor's home country or from Saudi Consulates available in all main cities around the world.


The cost of a visa is generally 200 Saudi Riyals however visitors should ensure that they check with the Saudi Embassy or Consulate.


Visas will not be issued for the following groups of people:



An Israeli passport holder or a passport that has an Israeli arrival/departure stamp.

Those who don't abide by the Saudi traditions concerning appearance and behaviors.  Those under the influence of alcohol will not be permitted into the Kingdom.

There are certain regulations for pilgrims and you should contact the consulate for more information.

Jewish People



No Jews! Doesn't matter what their views about Israel might be. Not even Israel Shamir, or Noam Chomsky or an anti-Zionist Neturei Karteh Hassid can get a tourist visa into Saudi Arabia. No Israelis can enter either, not even Arab MKs like Mohamad Barakeh. But that isn't all. We have some customs in this part of the world concerning women as well. The instructions continue as below:


Important Instructions:



If a woman is arriving in the Kingdom alone, the sponsor or her husband must receive her at the airport.


Every woman must have confirmed accommodation for the duration of her stay in the Kingdom.

A woman is not allowed to drive a car and can therefore only travel by car if she is accompanied by her husband, a male relative, or a driver.

All visitors to the Kingdom must have a return ticket.

Pilgrims must also have all valid documentation and a passport that is valid for 6 months.



Of course, women have to obey the rules for women. The new version of the Web site, put up in a hurry apparently, eliminates the warnings about Jews and about women not being allowed to drive, but there is no reason to think the rules have been changed.

No wonder Hosni Mubarrak and Crown Prince Abdullah are not anxious for Western-style democratic reform! Imagine - Women drivers and Jews running around the Kingdom. What can those Americans be thinking?

Ami Isseroff

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000205.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

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