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How did a nice Zionist academic (my nephew) have trouble with his Israel visa—and end up getting deported from Israel?

Prof. Jeremy Cooperstock


(Posted June 8, updated June 11 & 17) My nephew, Jeremy Cooperstock, is a professor in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at McGill University in Montreal, spending his academic sabbatical year in Jerusalem.





He arrived last August with his wife, Vinita, their two boys, Teva and Shalev, and his mother (my sister), Ruth Cooperstock, joined them in September.  Jeremy had been to Israel many times before, having lived there with his parents when his own father (the late Fred Cooperstock) spent a sabbatical year there himself when Fred was a professor. Jeremy and his wife, Vinita, were also married in Israel.  He has been a committed Zionist all his life, but his most recent experience with Israeli bureaucracy—which ended with him being deported from the country, has left a very bitter taste in his mouth.

According to Jeremy, he was advised by the Visiting Scientists Coordinator of the Office of the Executive Vice President For Academic Affairs at the Technion, the institution with whom he is affiliated during his sabbatical, to come to Israel with his family on B2 tourist visas, which are valid for only three months.  Shortly after his arrival, as Jeremy wrote me, “Following the instructions we were given from the Technion, we made an appointment with the Ministry of Interior to renew/extend these visas, so that we could remain in the country for the rest of the year.”  The Ministry only scheduled the meeting for December, after the the B2 visas had already expired, but the Technion assured Jeremy that this wouldn’t be a problem. At the appointment, Jeremy provided all the requested documentation, and was told that the Ministry would contact him after the Jewish Agency verified that his family is Jewish.

What ensued, however, turned into one of those classic Israeli bureaucratic nightmares with which so many of us are familiar.

In April, as Jeremy was preparing to attend a conference the next month in Scotland, he was quite concerned that he would not be let back into Israel upon his return because he was still awaiting word from the Ministry about the visas.  He made numerous attempts to reach the Ministry, with most of these simply ignored.  On one occasion when he received a call back, the Ministry official told him, “Don’t worry, everything will be fine.”

So Jeremy prepared an article about his dealings with the Israeli bureaucrats, which he asked me to publish in case he was not allowed back into Israel. As it turned out, Jeremy did get back into Israel in May. He told me back then that he was simply waved through after the passport control officer made a brief call to his superior, and issued a new B2 visa, valid through August.  Shortly thereafter, Jeremy received a call from the Ministry telling him that he could now come and pay for a visa that would be good until the end of June.  As Jeremy asked the agent, “Why would I make a return trip to get a visa that has a shorter duration than the one I just received at the airport?” 

But, his luck was about to run out. On Friday, June 7, Jeremy returned to Israel from a workshop in Germany. This time, he was stopped at Ben Gurion Airport and told he was being refused entry.  Instead, he was deported back to Germany.  How poignant!

As a result, I am now publishing the chronology that Jeremy prepared back in April, in which he outlined all the hurdles he had attempted to overcome, but without success.

As noted previously, Jeremy had made an appointment with the Ministry of Interior, during which he submitted the visa extension requests for himself and his family, along with the documentation requested.

Following that initial meeting, he encountered one roadblock after another, including, in Jeremy’s words (and as described in additional detail in the sidebar):

  1. My requests to the Ministry for follow-up information were largely ignored
  2. Ministry representatives (on the few occasions when I was actually able to speak to anyone there!) failed to pass along requests for information that were apparently received from the Jewish Agency
  3. almost all emails to the Ministry were ignored, although most were replied to with a pointer to a web form that they insist I use for all communications
  4. all submissions to the aforementioned web form were simply ignored
  5. most transmission attempts to the Ministry’s fax numbers (04-8633348 and 02-26469547) failed with error codes of “Remote side hang-up”, Busy”, or “No answer”, and
  6. despite my clarification that the visa renewal/extension was urgent only for me, given my upcoming travel, and despite the assurances of the Ministry’s representative on April 28 that she would contact me shortly for an appointment to obtain my new visa, I flew out on an expired visa.

I have no idea what sort of trouble I’m about to encounter at the airport. Will they just ask me some questions, I wondered, prevent me from leaving, or prevent me from returning?

But, in any case, this experience left us shaking our heads. In April, we had a fascinating tour of the Gaza periphery with IDF Col. (Res.) Grisha Yakubovich and heard about the challenges that Gazans experience obtaining the necessary permits to enter the country. They think it’s difficult for them? I’m not sure it’s any easier being a Jewish Canadian academic!



There you have it—a Kafkaesque situation in which someone is passed from office to office, complies with all requests for information, yet ends up failing to obtain necessary documents.

Shortly before Jeremy was to be put on a plane back to Germany, I was able to speak with him and asked him what his next step would be. He told me that since their house in Montreal is rented out for the year, he will probably wait in Europe, before he reunites with his family, after his boys finish their school year in Jerusalem.  However, they are now worried about the Ministry of Interior banging down the door and deporting them too.  As for his mother, Ruth is scheduled to return to Canada at the end of June.

Finally, I asked Jeremy whether, having gone through this nightmarish situation, he would consider returning to Israel. His answer: “Would you?”



Following is a brief timeline of the sequence of events which I have gone through in an attempt to have our visas extended:

October 22, 2018:

  •  faxed paperwork requesting visa extension appointment, along with letter from the Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs, Technion

November 29, 2018:

  •  our B-2 visas expired; but according to our contact at the Technion, this wasn’t a problem since we had an appointment scheduled with the Ministry

December 10, 2018:

  • appointment with Ministry offices in Haifa, showed passports, and provided the Ministry representative with completed visa extension/renewal forms, copies of marriage certificate, mother’s ketuba, children’s birth certificates, wife’s conversion certificate
  • I was told that the Ministry would get back to us once they had received an answer from the Jewish Agency as requested by Ministry representative, also faxed copies of our passports, marriage certificate, and children’s birth certificates.

January 14, 2019:

  •  emailed Ministry requesting follow-up; was told to wait patiently

April 1, 2019:

  •  multiple attempts to call (*3450 and 02-6294666) but numbers dropped connection
  •  emailed summary of contact attempts, noting travel plans for the following month

April 2, 2019:

  •  received email response requesting passport numbers; emailed names and passport numbers of family members with me in Israel

April 3, 2019:

  •  attempted telephone call (*3450 and 02-6294666) but received \busy network”
  •  attempted to download the Robby personal assistant mobile app from but received notice “this app is not available for your region”
  •  emailed Ministry, noting dificulties in attempts to contact them

April 6, 2019:

  •  resent email with names and passport numbers of accompanying family in Israel

April 8, 2019:

  •  received call back from Ministry; told to wait patiently; asked what would happen if visa wasn’t renewed before I travelled; answer: “I don’t know; try visiting the Jerusalem office and explaining the problem”

April 15, 2019:

  •  visited Jerusalem office of Ministry; after lengthy wait, told, “You must deal exclusively with the Haifa office. We can’t do anything for you here.”

April 18, 2019:

  •  emailed and faxed request for follow-up with chronology of previous attempts, noting imminent travel date of May 4

April 28, 2019:

  •  visited Jerusalem o_ffice of the Ministry of Interior a second time; spoke with Ministry office manager who couldn’t do anything; told “the  file is with Haifa”.

Upon consulting the computer, the manager claimed that Ministry had contacted me in February to request the names of the witnesses to my wife’s conversion (no such contact had been made) and insisted that I must deal with the Haifa office.

  •  Jerusalem office manager conveyed message to have Haifa office contact me; faxed copies of wife’s Certificate of Acceptance into Judaism, both Hebrew and English versions, with names of rabbi witnesses
  •  Haifa representative called to say she had attempted to contact me several times in February (no record of any such calls on my phone) because the Jewish Agency couldn’t read the signatures of the rabbis, and also required a separate letter attesting to mother being Jewish (apparently, a ketuba and letter from our rabbi, indicating that my mother is Jewish, do not suffice!)
  • Haifa representative confirmed receipt of faxed conversion certificates, but indicated that she also needed a letter from the Technion that was addressed to the Ministry, providing the details of my appointment, passport information for me, my family members, and type of visa requested; incorrectly claimed that the letter previously provided (October 22) had been addressed to me rather than the Ministry of Interior
  •  emailed and faxed copy of letter from the Executive Vice President of Academic

Affairs, Technion (faxed originally October 18, 2018), along with copy of my passport (faxed originally December 10)

May 1, 2019:

  •  telephone call (*3450); urgent message conveyed to Haifa office
  •  third attempt at faxing passport (previously provided to Ministry on two separate occasions) to 04-8633348 (finally successful)
  •  faxed letter from Rabbi Kaplan attesting to my mother, Ruth Cooperstock, being Jewish
  •  sent web form reference #585975 urgently requesting information

Updated June 11

VisaAfter the intervention of a highly placed individual with contacts in Israel’s government who happens to be a good friend of my nephew, Prof. Jeremy Cooperstock, Jeremy is to be allowed back into Israel after having been refused entry into Israel & deported to Germany on Friday. His deportation from Israel was not as a result of his having the wrong visa – despite what some individuals have suggested. (See picture here of his B2 visa that was good until Aug. 10.) It was a bureaucratic nightmare that should never have happened – but just try dealing with Israel’s bureaucracy.

Updated June 16
Galit BaramIsrael’s Consual General in Toronto, Galit Baram, was good enough to phone me (on a Sunday morning) to acknowledge that mistakes were made in how Jeremy’s (and the other members of his family) visa situation was handled. She told me that representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Isael are currently looking into the situation and have been in touch with Jeremy.
When I mentioned to Ms. Baram that it is practically impossible for anyone to get in touch with Israel’s Toronto consulate by phone or by filling out a contact form on the consulate website, she admitted they have had problems with their phone system. (Just try calling 416-640-8512, which is the number you are supposed to call for assistance in obtaining a visa for Israel.) Ms. Baram suggested that anyone wanting to get a response from the Consulate would have better luck on either the Consulate’s Facebook page or Twitter feed.
I also asked Ms. Baram whether it is standard procedure to require anyone requesting an extension of their visitor’s visa in Israel to have to prove that they are Jewish. (See earlier reference to the various demands placed upon my nephew’s wife and my sister to provide necessary documentation that would have satisfied Jewish Agency representatives that they are indeed Jewish.) Ms. Baram admitted she herself was confused as to why those demands were made, but suggested this is a matter that will be clarified in Israel between the Ministry of Foreign Relations and my nephew.
Finally, I asked Ms. Baram whether I would have received a phone call from Israel’s Consul General in Toronto on a Sunday morning and whether the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would have become involved in this matter had I not been a member of the media and posted this article to our website in the first place?
She answered that this is the first such situation of exactly this type that has ever been drawn to her attention. I suggested that others would have given up and, not having a platform such as this website upon which to express their frustration with Israel’s notorious bureaucracy, would simply have gone “gentle into that good night”.
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New website for Israelis interested in moving to Canada

By BERNIE BELLAN A new website, titled “Orvrim to Canada” ( has been receiving hundreds of thousands of visits, according to Michal Harel, operator of the website.
In an email sent to Michal explained the reasons for her having started the website:
“In response to the October 7th events, a group of friends and I, all Israeli-Canadian immigrants, came together to launch a new website supporting Israelis relocating to Canada. “Our website,, offers a comprehensive platform featuring:

  • Step-by-step guides for starting the immigration process
  • Settlement support and guidance
  • Community connections and networking opportunities
  • Business relocation assistance and expert advice
  • Personal blog sharing immigrants’ experiences and insights

“With over 200,000 visitors and media coverage from prominent Israeli TV channels and newspapers, our website has already made a significant impact in many lives.”
A quick look at the website shows that it contains a wealth of information, almost all in Hebrew, but with an English version that gives an overview of what the website is all about.
The English version also contains a link to a Jerusalem Post story, published this past February, titled “Tired of war? Canada grants multi-year visas to Israelis” ( That story not only explains the requirements involved for anyone interested in moving to Canada from Israel, it gives a detailed breakdown of the costs one should expect to encounter.

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Message from a Palestinian in Gaza to protesters: “You’re hurting the Palestinian cause”

Protesters at McGill University

A very brave Palestinian who was willing to put his name to paper and write an article for Newsweek Magazine has exposed the utter hypocrisy of all those students – and others, who have been setting up encampments across the U.S. – and now Canada, too.

You can read the article at

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The Most Expensive Israeli Soccer Transfers

Eran Zahavi

Even if Israel isn’t known as a world soccer power, it has produced plenty of talented players who have made a living in top European leagues. On more than one occasion, an Israeli international has commanded a rather large transfer fee. But who are the most expensive players in Israel’s history? The answer could be a little surprising. We took a look back to find the most expensive Israeli soccer transfers of all time.

Tai Baribo

In 2023, Baribo made the move to MLS, signing with the Philadelphia Union. The reported fee was around $1.5 million, which is one of the highest transfer fees the Union has ever paid for a player.

Omer Atzili

Throughout his career, Atzili has played for a variety of clubs, including stops in Spain and Greece. In 2023, he joined Al Ain in the UAE for a transfer fee of $2.1 million.

Maor Buzaglo

Now retired, Buzaglo was briefly the holder of the richest transfer deal for an Israeli player. After a couple of successful seasons on loan, Maccabi Tel Aviv paid $2.7 million to rival Maccabi Haifa for Buzaglo in 2008.

Dia Saba

Saba made history in 2020 when he joined Al-Nasr, making him the first Israeli player to play for a club in the UAE. At the time, it was a big deal for relations between the two countries. Al-Nasr also paid an impressive $2.9 million transfer fee for the midfielder.

Tal Ben Haim

On multiple occasions, Ben Haim has been sold for more than $1 million. First, there was his move from Hapoel Tel Aviv to Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2023 for close to $1.2 million. A few years later, Sparta Prague came calling for him, spending $3.1 million as a transfer fee for the winger.

Itay Shechter

During the prime of his career, Shechter was the type of player who warranted a seven-figure transfer fee. German club Kaiserslautern paid a little over $2.6 million in 2011 to bring Shechter to the Bundesliga from Hapoel Tel Aviv.

Daniel Peretz

When Peretz was sold to Bayern Munich, it wasn’t the most expensive deal involving an Israeli player, although it was arguably the most important. He became the first Israeli Jew to play at Bayern, which is one of the biggest clubs in the world. The transfer fee for Peretz paid by Bayern Munich to Maccabi Tel Aviv was around $5.4 million.

Oscar Gloukh

Gloukh is one of the best young Israeli players right now. He already has three international goals in a dozen appearances to his name. Somehow, Gloukh is already one of the most expensive players in Israel’s history. After coming up with Maccabi Tel Aviv, he moved to Austrian giant Red Bull Salzburg in 2023 for a transfer fee of close to $7.5 million. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him top that number one day.

Liel Abada

Abada has been a part of two huge transfer deals in his young career. In 2021, Scottish club Celtic paid $4.8 million to acquire him from Maccabi Petah Tikva. However, that number was topped in 2024 when Charlotte FC of MLS paid a fee of $8 million for Abada.

With Charlotte FC, Abada competes in North America’s top league, facing teams from both Mexico and Canada. Throughout North America, sports betting has taken off in recent years. That includes betting in Canada, where there is a large collection of trusted sports betting platforms.

Eran Zahavi

To date, Zahavi holds the record for the most expensive transfer fee paid for an Israeli player. It’s fitting for Israel’s former captain and all-time leading scorer. In 2016, Chinese club Guangzhou City paid $12.5 million to get Zahavi from Maccabi Tel Aviv. That record was nearly broken later that year when another Chinese club offered $20 million for Zahavi, who turned it down and stayed with Guangzhou City.

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