Israel Has Secret Plan to Rescue Ukrainian Jews in Event of Invasion

Travelers seen at Ben Gurion International Airport. (Flash90)

Israel has a secret plan to rescue Jews and their relatives in case of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, senior government officials said Sunday.

The planned operation includes rescuing them, bringing them to Israel and providing temporary housing. Details of the operation remain unclear, but all the relevant government ministries and official organizations have been meeting regularly about creating the potential evacuation plan for many weeks.

As threats of a Russian invasion of Ukraine become more concrete, Ukraine’s Jewish community members have to decide if they are interested in leaving with the assistance of Jewish organizations and the Israeli government.

According to senior Israeli government officials, there are approximately 200,000 residents of Ukraine eligible to move to Israel under the Law of Return if they choose to. About 50,000 out of the 200,000 are Jewish according to halachah.

Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata (Blue and White) said she has instructed her ministry to prepare for a scenario of thousands of immigrants in the event of a Russian attack.

“We have no way to indicate at this moment how many potential olim will enter Israel at this point, but we need to be prepared,” she said.

When asked how many Ukrainian Jews are estimated to be interested in an immediate evacuation, Tamano-Shata said it could be “tens of thousands or just thousands.”

Even if a Ukrainian Jew wants to leave the country and not make aliyah, that would be possible because “the Jewish State was established in order to be a safe haven for Jews,” a senior Israeli official said. “Therefore, we do not differentiate between those who wish to make aliyah and those who are just interested in saving their lives.”

“We know that the second the first gun is shot, we’re going to be in a whole different ballgame, and many more will be interested,” the official added.

Ten flights to Israel left Ukraine over the weekend, which were not full, and 32 more are planned for this week. Travel insurance companies said they would not insure flights from Ukraine beginning on Monday.

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