Israel is suspending passport-exempt travel to the United States and Europe, the government announced Wednesday, days after President Donald Trump imposed a nationwide travel ban on travelers from six Muslim-majority countries.
In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the government would suspend passport issuance to non-Israel citizens, who will have to obtain visas from Israeli embassies or consulates.
The government also will close its offices, temporarily cease travel to Iran and Syria, and make visa applications by telephone and through email, it said.
The ban on travel to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Syria and Yemen was part of a sweeping immigration order issued on Jan. 6 by Trump, who said the order was necessary to protect the country from potential terror attacks.
It is a measure that has not been subject to legal challenge and has caused considerable confusion, with some airlines, including Emirates and Emirates Airlines, suspending all or part of their flights to the US and other countries.
Israel has long maintained a policy of issuing visas for Jews, Palestinians and other people of Middle Eastern origin.
The move comes as Israeli officials are working to find a diplomatic solution with the Trump administration, following its decision to temporarily ban travel from seven Muslim-heavy nations in the Middle East, which have ties to the Islamic State group.
The White House has said it plans to revisit its policy of limiting travel to countries that have been designated as terrorist hubs, and that the White House will seek new guidance on the designation.