Fishel Benkhald, a Pakistani Jew, said on Wednesday that he has been allowed to visit Israel on his Pakistani passport by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Taking to Twitter, Benkhald said, “Dear @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.”
He said he will now apply for a visa and wait for Israel’s approval. “I will be coming to Jerusalem Israel in April,” he added.
Dubbed as “Pakistan’s last Jew,” Benkhald, a resident of the southern Pakistani city of Karachi, was originally registered as a Muslim and was named Faisal Khalid. After several months of bureaucratic struggle and paperwork, he was finally recognised by the Islamic country’s authorities as a Jew in March, 2018.
Last year, Benkhald requested the government to allow him to visit Jerusalem, Israel, on his Pakistani passport.
Pakistan does not recognise Israel and, therefore, doesn’t have diplomatic relations with it.
The Foreign Office is yet to comment on the matter.
In August 2018, he had claimed that he was “verbally and physically attacked” by a “Pakistani Islamist” outside a private bank because of his public demand for making religious pilgrimage visit to Jerusalem.
In October 2018, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government had rejected speculations that it was holding any secret talks with Israel and India after rumours emerged regarding landing of an ‘Israeli aircraft’ in Pakistan. An Israeli journalist earlier this week sparked a storm of speculation on the social media when he tweeted that an aircraft flew from Tel Aviv to Islamabad.
Avi Scharf, editor of Israeli newspaper Haaretz, said in his tweet that the alleged plane did not directly fly from the Israeli capital into Islamabad. Instead, it followed a trick flight route by landing in Amman briefly to make it look like an Amman-Islamabad flight rather than a Tel Aviv-Islamabad flight.