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Human Rights Watch Worker Allowed Into Israel

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An American employee of Human Rights Watch was permitted to enter Israel after previously being denied both a tourist and work visa due to the NGO’s alleged anti-Israel bias.

Omar Shakir, the new Israel and Palestine director for Human Rights Watch, a leading nongovernmental organization, entered Israel on Monday, four days after initially being denied a 10-day tourist visa.

He was allowed entry into Israel the same day that the Knesset passed a law banning entry to foreigners who publicly call for boycotting the Jewish state or its settlements.

After Shakir had been denied a work visa on Feb. 21, an Israeli official said he could apply for a tourist visa, implying that it would be granted.

“Greetings from beautiful Yaffa/Jaffa! Happy to share that I landed safely today in Ben Gurion Airport,” Shakir said in a post Monday on Facebook.

The post continued: “I’m very excited for this 10-day visit, my first in this post (5+ months in), and the opportunity to engage Israeli and Palestinian officials, partners & those directly affected by human rights abuses on all sides.”

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