(JNS.org) U.S. State Department data from 2013 shows that the number of rejections of Israeli visa requests rose by 80 percent over that year.
Yedioth Ahronoth reported the figures showing that 125,000 Israelis requested tourist visas to the U.S. last year, and that 9.7 percent of these requests were denied. In 2012, 5.4 percent were denied, and in 2007, only 2.7 percent got rejected.
The U.S. has a "white list" of countries whose citizens can come to the U.S. without a visa, but only countries with a visa rejection rate of less than 3 percent are put on this list. The recent growth in U.S. visa request rejections forced Israel off that list. Some Israeli officials believe there is a political motive behind the increased rejection rate for Israeli requests.
"We meet all the requirements to receive an exemption [from visas], aside from the rate of rejections," noted an official in the Israeli Foreign Ministry, reported Israel National News.