Former Defense Minister Mordechai allowed entry to US
By Itamar Eichner
May 23, 2008
Visa granted after Olmert tells US officials Mordechai rehabilitated, does not pose threat to American public despite sex offenses
Former Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai was granted a visa by the US embassy in Tel Aviv at Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's request, Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Friday.
Mordechai's initial request for a visa, which was filed some four months ago, was rejected by the Americans due to his past conviction for sexual misconduct.
However, during President George W. Bush's first visit to Israel Olmert asked a number of senior US officials intervene in the matter while taking into account that Mordechai had been rehabilitated and does not pose a threat to the American public.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak's office also turned to the Americans on Mordechai's behalf.
Meanwhile, Mordechai also filed an appeal with the American embassy, which was reportedly debated among some of the highest-ranking officials in Washington. The appeal was eventually accepted and Mordechai flew to US a few days ago for a 10-day private visit.
During his tenure as defense minister between 1996 and 1999 under then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mordechai was considered the darling of the US administration and was a welcome guest at the White House and the Pentagon.