Volodymyr Zelensky, the President of Ukraine, praised the decision of the High Court of Israel on Sunday. The High Court struck down the cap imposed on Ukrainian refugees who are fleeing their country because of the war.
Refugees cannot be restricted
On Sunday, the High Court said that Ayelet Shaked, the Interior Minister, could not impose a cap of 5,000 on the number of non-Jewish refugees, who are fleeing their country due to the Russian war. The court rejected the reasons given for supporting the policy.
Shortly after the court’s ruling was announced, Zelensky took to Twitter and said that a true democracy can only be distinguished through its respect for human rights and the law. He said that he appreciated the Supreme Court’s decision, which removes any restrictions imposed on the Ukrainian citizens.
In the wake of Russia’s attack on their country back in February, there are thousands of Ukrainians who are fleeing and have come to Israel to seek refuge.
According to current regulations, Ukrainians do not have to obtain a visa to stay for about three months in Israel. Shaked had announced in March that about 20,000 Ukrainians who were in Israel on tourist visas, or had entered the country illegally before the Russian invasion would be permitted to stay in the country.
She also added that an additional 5,000 refugees would be granted a visa, if they do not qualify for immigration under the Law of Return. According to this law, anyone with a Jewish grandparent or parent can get citizenship in Israel.
Another requirement that Shaked had introduced was an application form that Ukrainians had to fill online even before they left their homes to come to Israel. According to the state, the cap on immigrants was necessary because the 20,000 people who had been allowed to remain would stay beyond the duration of their tourist visa.
Shaked speaks out
The ruling from the court highlighted that 4,409 Ukrainians had come to Israel after the war had broken out in their country and had left by May 8th. Shaked was not pleased with the court’s decision and said that her policy had been quite effective, as it had allowed relatives of Israelis to come to the country and work and had also ensured that there was not a flood of refugees coming into the country.
She said that it was because of this system that more Ukrainians were leaving Israel than arriving. Shaked said that the system would come to a halt if there is no discussion about it in the Knesset, after the court’s ruling. A meeting of the Internal Affairs Committee of the Knesset has been called on the matter, as visa changes cannot be made without parliamentary committees.
She also asserted that an unlimited number of foreign citizens cannot be allowed to come into the country, when it is not clear when they would leave. Nachman Shai, the Diaspora Affairs Minister, appreciated the ruling of the court.