Israel Concerned As No. Of Russians Entering Country Skyrockets

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Illustrative. A Ukrainian woman waits with her baby at Iasi International Airport in Romania to board a flight to Israel, March 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

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A total of 6,005 Ukrainian citizens who are not entitled to Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return entered Israel from the start of the war in Ukraine until Monday morning, a Yisrael Hayom report said, based on an analysis of data from the Nativ Agency, which oversees immigration to Israel, and the Absorption Ministry and the Population and Immigration Authority.

The report added that immigration officials are having internal discussions about “planes full of Ukrainians from Belgium and other countries on their way to Israel,” following the new policy announced by Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked on Sunday, allowing any non-Jewish Ukrainians who have a relative in Israel to enter Ukraine.

According to estimates by professional sources, the new policy will result in a large wave of Ukrainians who will try to enter Israel, even if they don’t have family members or friends in the country. The estimate is based on data prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, when the number of illegal immigrants from Ukraine was about 15,000 – the highest in the world.

Sources in the immigration system believe that now that Israel eased its immigration policy, the message will be passed back to Ukrainian refugees in Europe, who will take advantage of the situation to come to Israel.

Yisrael Hayom has learned that there has also been a huge jump in the arrival of Russians into Israel since the outbreak of the war. According to the Population and Immigration Authority, 6,126 Russian residents have arrived in Israel in the past two weeks, 138 of whom were denied entry. This is double the amount recorded in January and February – when about 3,000 Russian citizens entered the country.

According to Nativ data, 1,300 of them were issued immigration visas, and they entered as new immigrants. The rest entered through Ben Gurion Airport as tourists, and it is estimated that 70% of them will eventually apply for immigrant status.

Senior government officials and immigration officials told Yisrael Hayom that Israel must prepare for the fact that as the war continues and the situation in Russia worsens [due to sanctions and the crackdown on freedom of speech and press], there will also be a huge wave of Russian asylum seekers who are not entitled to Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return.

“We can’t create an immigration policy that discriminates between Russia and Ukraine,” a senior government official said. “Such an approach would also have political implications.”

On Monday, Ukrainian citizens who had already tried to enter Israel in the past under false pretenses arrived at Ben Gurion Airport – and were deported.

However, in one case, a Tel Aviv District Court judge ruled that despite the applicant’s problematic history, “at this time the applicant and others like her must be allowed to remain in Israel.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

3 COMMENTS

  1. This non-discrimination between Russia and Ukraine means that they are already drunk enough to not distinguish between Haman and Mordechai. Maybe stop the Russians and, while at that, do not allow dual citizenship with Russia for those who are already in Israel. Russia always uses Russian citizenship as a pre-text to “protect” them, Israel does not need that protection, we have a Better One.