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Strategic Affairs and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan

Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said publicly on Tuesday that Lara Alqasem, a student active in the international anti-Israel Boycott, Divest and Sanctions campaign,is “free to return to her home in the United States whenever she wishes.”

Alqasem arrived at Ben Gurion International Airport a week ago (Oct. 2) with a one-year visa she received at the Israeli Consulate in Miami, Florida, expecting to begin studies for a Masters degree at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. But she was denied entry to Israel based on her years-long membership and leadership activities in the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) organization, an extreme, virulently anti-Israel organization that participates in the global BDS movement.


“I gave notice this morning, in coordination with Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, that if Lara Alqasem declares in a clear and explicit manner that she erred in the past and she believes today that support for a boycott on Israel and the BDS (movement) is a mistake and illegitimate and that she regrets having served in the past as the head of a branch of a boycott group, we will reconsider our stance regarding her entry into Israel,” Erdan wrote in a tweet on the Twitter social networking site.

In an interview Tuesday morning on the Galei Tzahal Army Radio station, Erdan said Alqasem deleted her social media accounts before boarding the plane to come to Israel. But, he said, she is still “responsible for those comments of hatred and the silencing of Jewish or pro-Israel students in U.S. universities,” he said.

“Israel welcomes students of all backgrounds and political opinions to study in Israel, but like any democracy, will not allow entry to those who work to harm the country, whatever their excuse,” Erdan told Jewish News Service in an interview Monday.

“Every country has the sovereign right to decide who is admitted to enter its borders,” said Lior Haiat, the consul general of Israel in Miami, in a statement Sunday to The Miami Herald. “Once we realized that Ms. Alqasem is involved in anti-Israel (and anti-Semitic) activities through the BDS movement, she was denied entry.”

“We find it ironic that someone who calls on the indiscriminate boycott of Israel as a tool to harm and destroy the State of Israel wishes to study in the very country they call to boycott,” added Haiat.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.