Thousands of Ukrainians Applying to Immigrate to Israel

Ukrainian immigrants arrive at Ben Gurion airport last week. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Approximately 2,500 Ukrainian Jews have applied to immigrate to Israel and take citizenship since the Russian invasion, the Jewish Agency for Israel said on Sunday

All told, the agency reported over 5,000 inquiries about immigration to Israel in recent days, about half of those indicating they would want to immigrate immediately.

Ukraine is home to a Jewish community of around 43,000. But approximately 200,000 Ukrainians are eligible for immigration under Israel’s Law of Return, which extends the right to citizenship to anyone with one Jewish grandparent.

Over the weekend, the organization said it was establishing six aliyah processing stations on Ukraine’s borders with Poland, Moldova, Romania and Hungary. The flood of refugees reportedly exceeded 400,000 as of Sunday.

“From there, they will cross the border into Ukraine every day, together with Israel’s diplomatic teams, in order to continue assisting Ukrainian Jews who want to immigrate to Israel,” the Jewish Agency said in a statement.

The current crisis is expected to push emigration to Israel beyond recent numbers. In 2021, only 3,100 left for Israel.

The first group of new immigrants crossed into Poland on Saturday after a “nerve-wracking 16-hour process,” the Jewish Agency said.

“The immigrants are being temporarily housed in a hotel near Warsaw where they will remain until they are flown to Israel shortly. Upon arrival in Israel, the immigrants will receive temporary housing, with help from the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption,” the organization said.

Meanwhile, Israel’s Population Immigration and Border Authority announced that in light of the emergency situation, it will halt until further notice all deportation measures against Ukrainians illegally residing in Israel.

According to PIBA data published last week, 24% of the over 7,000 foreigners residing in Israel without permits are Ukrainians. Roughly 6,700 Ukrainians have applied for asylum in Israel and have had their requests rejected. Forty-six percent of all those expelled from Israel between the years 2018 and 2021 were Ukrainians.

To Read The Full Story

Are you already a subscriber?
Click to log in!