The United States military sparked nation-wide controversy after denying a New York City-based dentist security clearance due to his family ties in Israel. The dentist, Dr. Gershon Pincus, is retired and initially applied to serve as a dentist for military members at a naval dental clinic in Saratoga Springs.
After an initial interview and investigation in his background, Pincus was ultimately denied security clearance to work for the government after they learned he has a mother and siblings who live in Israel. Considered ‘dual-loyalty,’ this was the basis of their decision.
According to the Jerusalem post, the Jewish community immediately came to the doctor’s defense, stating that a person having family ties in Israel isn’t enough reason to deny a civilian security clearance. Specifically, the American Jewish Committee described the practice of denying clearance based on heritage as disturbing and discriminatory. They also argued that Pincus is an American citizen who has spent a majority of his life stateside, having visited Israel only three times in the past decade.
Pincus is one of 59 people who have been denied security clearance based on family ties in the time since President Obama took office. Of those 59 cases, 62% appealed the decision and all lost.
Considering that 99.7% of adults view a healthy smile as being socially important, Pincus knows how much people of all walks of life value a nice smile. He had hoped to use his skills as a retired dentist to help military members in the best way he knew how but was deemed unfit due to his family history.
The Defense Department made the initial decision that marked Pincus as a security threat. The finding was ultimately reversed, allowing the dental practice owner of 35 years to continue working for the Navy as a dentist.
“I’m overjoyed with it,” Pincus said Thursday in response to the decision that he could stay.
Pincus hopes to continue working at the dental clinic for at least 10 more years.