May 16, 2022

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Ukrainian Family that Fled War Facing Expulsion from Israel

3 min read

According to a report on Sunday, a Ukrainian family that fled from the war in the country and arrived in Israel is now facing the possibility of expulsion, as they have been denied entry. The family of three arrived on Saturday and were currently being held at the Ben Gurion Airport in the detention area. The family comprises of husband and wife Andrei and Maria Kohil and their 10-year old son, Vadislav. According to the Population, Immigration, and Border Authority, they are concerned that the family plans on staying in Israel permanently, instead of just fleeing the war. 

The family had come to Israel in hopes of joining Yurislav, Andrei’s brother, who has been in the country since 2017. He is working in Israel, but without a visa, though he has applied for permission to be able to work legally. The report said that border control had not given entry to the family because they were concerned about them staying illegally. The family had flown from Poland to Israel and they were scheduled for expulsion on Monday. The report said that the family was appealing against it. Tamir Belnick, the lawyer for the family stated that they did not have any intention of putting their roots in Israel. 

The lawyer said that they only wanted to stay because the situation back home had gotten very dangerous. They had come to Israel to find some temporary quiet and were just looking for an anchor of stability. According to Belnick, authorities were not taking into account the fact that the family had fled Ukraine because of the Russian invasion and they do not have anywhere they can go, except for Poland. The lawyer asked if it was reasonable for Israel to take only a few hundred refugees, while Poland takes in millions. 

He went on to say that there were ways for Israel to ensure the family wouldn’t stay longer than required and that the authorities needed to show some compassion, sensitivity and humanity. He added that expelling them would mean that they were ‘someone else’s problem’. In a statement, the Population, Immigration, and Border Authority, said that Yurislav had been illegally working in Israel for five years and his application for legal status was rejected. The authority said that taking his situation into account and the concern of the family settling down in Israel, they had decided to deny them entry. 

The report revealed that Maria works as a dental assistant, while Andrei is an employee of a commercial transport company. The family has their own home, along with two apartments. On Monday morning, the Population and Immigration Authority announced that 2,792 Ukrainian nationals had come to Israel since the war broke out and they had denied entry to about 129 of them for unspecified reasons. The Ukrainians who are granted citizenship would be considered immigrants who are fleeing a war zone and would also get additional support from the government. The Interior Minister, Ayelet Shaked, said on Monday that they were imposing a cap on the number of non-Jew refugees allowed.

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