For as long as we can remember, diplomatic ties have not been established and Pakistan has refused to recognize Israel. Pakistan forbids its citizens from going to Israel and all Pakistani passports bear the inscription “This passport is valid for all countries of the World except Israel.” Nevertheless, Pakistan and Israel use their Embassies at Istanbul to mediate or exchange information with each other. Although, Israel-Pakistan relations have remained consistently calm with no conflict between the two nations, Pakistanis still were never permitted to visit Israel.
However, A Jewish Pakistani applied for permission to travel to Israel almost three months ago. A local newspaper has cited a source in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) while stating that Fishel had applied for the permission on October 28 via the ministry app. A background check was done when the request moved to the Sindh chief secretary, given Fishel is based in Karachi. Fishel Benkhald has now finally received a response from the Foreign Office, telling him that he can visit Jerusalem on a Pakistani passport.
Here’s what he tweeted!
Dear @ImranKhanPTI on 2-Jan Ministry of Foreign Affairs called to informing that I can visit Jerusalem Isreal on Pakistani passport
Im applying visa from Isreali embassy.
Thank u Dr Faisal @ForeignOfficePk @DrMFaisal@fawadchaudhry @BBhuttoZardari @OfficialDGISPR @peaceforchange pic.twitter.com/WookDyRlU6
— Fishel Benkhald (@Jew_Pakistani) January 23, 2019
@ImranKhanPTI on 2-Jan Ministry of Foreign Affairs called to informing that I can visit Jerusalem Isreal on Pakistani passport I’m applying visa from Isreali embassy. Thank u Dr Faisal @ForeignOfficePk @DrMFaisal @fawadchaudhry @BBhuttoZardari @OfficialDGISPR @peaceforchange
Fishel has been quite active on social media. He appealed the authorities to grant him the freedom of religion by allowing him to visit holy places in Israel. The foreign media has also interviewed him in this regard. His first article on a Pakistani paper got published in July 2018, bearing the title, “I’m Jewish and a Pakistani… let me go to Israel.”
In an interview, Benkhald claimed that he was born to a Muslim father and a Jewish mother. He also mentioned that his mother and father had met in Karachi and had a love marriage. He also claimed that his maternal grandparents were Jews. “My father was a secular Muslim and he had no objection to my mother’s faith. My mother never practiced Islam; however she was registered as a Muslim. In her heart, she was always a Jew. She taught me many things about Judaism.”
And people were congratulating him!
Congratulations. Go visit the land of Abraham Isaac and Jacob.
This will arise hope in us that one day we will also be able to visit.
— मिकी गिल Mickey مِکی (@Micks_it) January 23, 2019
This is a BIG deal!
Congratulations brother. It's really a big news. Blessings to you and your family. Thanks to Government of Pakistan.
— Isaac Inayat (@isaacinayat) January 23, 2019
How is he going to visit Israel on Pakitani passport? He says that he can apply for a Palestinian visa to visit their side of the territory and from there he can visit Israel. Another way is that he could directly apply for an Israeli visa as the country does not limit any visit from Pakistan. Also, since Pakistan has granted the permission already, (though not in written) there will not be any issues from that side either.
This is a great progress and development and it is a justified action towards the minorities living in Pakistan. Pakistan has always taken a step towards peace and equality but we do not know whether it is going to happen again in the future. Anyhow, If Fishel makes it to Jerusalem , we will be seeing something like this to happen for the first time ever. We are yet to see whether the government will grant the permission and open visas for all Pakistanis or even the Jewish.
This is nothing less than a surprise to us all! Naya Pakistan! Tabdeeli Agayi Hai!