Ukraine crisis: Israel to offer fleeing Jews free shelter, meals

EXCLUSIVE: The Ukrainian Jews will be offered to stay in hotels for a time of two weeks till one month – with possibilities to extend this time further.

Ukrainian Jews return to Israel. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Ukrainian Jews return to Israel.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Jewish immigrants or refugees from Ukraine will be offered housing and two meals a day in hotels and hostels across Israel for free, paid for by the Israeli government. The Aliyah and Integration Ministry is planning on booking hundreds of rooms in case of a Russian attack on Ukraine, and a massive wave of immigration that may result.

The ministry published a “call for proposal” on Tuesday in order to book rooms in hotels, hostels and guesthouses “for hosting immigrant families for a fixed period.” The Ukrainian Jews will be offered to stay in hotels for two weeks to one month, with the possibility to extend the time further. 

“The Aliyah and Integration Ministry is interested in receiving offers from hotels, hostels and guest houses throughout the country that can provide at least 20 rooms to accommodate individuals and families of immigrants on a half-board basis for a period of two weeks to a month.”

The ministry emphasized that “The firm [hotel, house, etc.] is required to make engagements instantly” since the Russian Army could attack Ukraine any day now. “The office will give a few days’ notice to each site before each group arrives.”

According to an official document, “Accommodation must be on a half-board basis – that is, a supply of two full meals a day, which will meet sanitation conditions as defined by the Health Ministry.” The food must be kosher, according to the official document.

 People arrive at Ben Gurion Airport on February 13 from Ukraine.  (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM) People arrive at Ben Gurion Airport on February 13 from Ukraine. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Not every hostel or hotel will be able to host the potential Ukrainian immigrants.

“Each accommodation unit will include a shower or bath and toilet (inside the unit), a place to store clothes, a means of cooling and heating the room, and an electric kettle for hot drinks,” said the ministry. Among the criteria is that “the site must have the ability to provide baby cribs.”

The hotels will also need to supply towels and linen, and change the linen once a week.

The new immigrants might even receive free Internet and TV.

“Preference will be given to a place that provides multi-channel TV and Internet infrastructure.”

The contract period with the potential facilities will begin from the date of signing the agreement until July 4. The housing facility reserves the option to extend the initial contract period for an additional period of time.

Real-estate owners had until Wednesday at 2 p.m. to send offers to the ministry, and the decisions should take place in the coming days.

The Aliyah and Integration Ministry declined to comment on the number of beds requested.