On Tuesday, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked announced that Israel would permit 25,000 Ukrainians to stay as refugees in the country, even if they are not eligible for immigration. She said that 20,000 people had already been in Israel before the hostilities began and they would not permit an additional 5,000 to immigrate, given that their country has been attacked. Shaked said that this number was in addition to the tens of thousands of refugees they expect to receive as part of the Jewish immigration due to the Russian military operation. The announcement of the new policy from Shaked about absorbing non-Jewish refugees came on the war’s 13th day, which shows no signs of abating.
She made the announcement on Tuesday evening at a press conference that was held at the Knesset. She stated that they couldn’t remain indifferent to the sufferings of the Ukrainian citizens and the sights of the ongoing war that were enough to rattle the soul. The Interior Minister said that 20,000 Ukrainian citizens were already present in Israel, illegally for the most part, before the war began and they would continue to host them instead of deportation. The minister said that they had also approved an immigration quota for an additional 5,000 Ukrainian refugees who were coming after the invasion.
As per the new rules, Shaked said that a temporary permit would be granted to a Ukrainian citizen entering the country with a validity of 3 months. She also asserted that if Ukraine’s situation does not improve, the refugees would be permitted to work locally. She further revealed that the controversial requirement of the ministry that demanded a deposit of NIS 10,000 from refugees on entering the country in order to ensure their departure later had been waived. Rather than making the deposit, refugees who enter Israel under the new rules would have to sign a document to confirm they would leave the country once the situation in Ukraine improves.
Citizens in Israel will also be able to submit a request for hosting Ukrainian refugees, but an applicant will only be allowed to host one family. Shaked said that higher priority would be given to these requests. She also added that an online application available on the Foreign Ministry’s website would have to be filled out by every Ukrainian refugee wanting to travel to Israel. They would have to show the application when boarding the plane. Shaked said that they had kept the application process quick and simple.
Until the Ukrainian war ends, 25,000 non-Jewish refugees would be permitted to live in Israel. As for Jewish refugees, they are expecting 100,000 from both Ukraine and Russia. Refugees from the latter are expected because of an increase in repression. According to Shaked, this number was on the high side for a country that does not share a border with Ukraine and also taking into account their small size. She said that the citizens of Israel can be proud of the humanitarian efforts being made for the Ukrainian people. Meanwhile, the Education Ministry is also gearing up to absorb about 2,000 schoolchildren in the coming days.