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250 People Denied Entry Into Israel This Year

Israel’s Shin Bet security service has denied around 250 people entry into the country since the beginning of the year, for reasons such as involvement in terror and fears of spying, according to the Times of Israel.

Some of those stopped were Christians, but most “were Muslims, or were in the process of becoming Muslims,” and arrived from Arab countries, Europe and Africa, the Israel public broadcaster Kan reported Wednesday. They were turned away after arriving at Ben Gurion International Airport, the Taba crossing from Egypt or the Allenby bridge crossing from Jordan.

They were reportedly questioned by representatives from the Shin Bet’s Arabic division over involvement in terror, espionage or political subversion.

The issue was a hot topic this week, following Forward columnist Peter Beinart’s questioning at the airport about his political views when he arrived in the country for his niece’s bat mitzvah.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned Beinart’s detainment, calling it an “administrative mistake.” Beinart rejected the sentiment, as Palestinians endure “far worse” on a daily basis.

Deputy Attorney General Dina Zilber’s office said in a letter earlier this month that, as requested by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, it will look into why critics of Israel are being questioned, Haaretz reported Tuesday.

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at fisher@forward.com, or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

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