Israeli consulates across Europe have stopped issuing new visas for Jews intending to make Aliyah, sources in the Jewish Agency have told the Jerusalem Post.
"I've been waiting for my visa so I can make Aliyah - but was told by the Jewish Agency representative in Paris that the Israeli Foreign Ministry workers are on strike, and therefore not issuing any new visas," said a future immigrant and member of the Paris Jewish community in France.
Jewish Agency officials have stated that in many countries there is no option to continue with Aliyah procedures since the Israeli consulates won't issue any new visas. Over 50 French Jews are waiting for their visas to be issued in order to immigrate to Israel - and the process is not moving forward for many others as well.
In the US, potential olim say that while the consulates are supplying visas, they are not issuing new passports. "What COVID-19 didn't do to the state of Aliyah, the Foreign Ministry strike is doing - killing the Aliyah process," said a senior official in a European Jewish Organization.
Yomtob Kalfon, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Eligibility for the Law of Return and Diaspora Relations met with Jewish Agency officials in France at the beginning of the week. He said: "It is inconceivable that due to a union dispute in the Foreign Ministry, Jews will not be able to immigrate to Israel at all times and in any situation. For 74 years, Jews made Aliyah during times of war and even pandemic - there is no reason to stop Aliyah now."
The Foreign Ministry has declined to respond and asked the Jerusalem Post to approach the Foreign Ministry's workers union.
Israeli consul in Australia, Nir Rubinoff, said in a statement issued by the Israeli consulate: "The Ministry of Finance is harming us and harassing all Foreign Ministry employees. We are endangering the future of the Foreign Service.
Rubinoff apologized to the citizens who would be harmed as a result of the strike.
Oshrat Shemeni, the Israeli consulate in Munich said: "I and all my friends decided to serve the country overseas with a sense of mission. Yet we are applying sanctions because we have no choice."
The Israeli Consulate for Consular Affairs in Miami Eli Gil issued a special statement from the Consulate, saying "Foreign Ministry employees are abusing and harming us in every way possible so we are sad to announce that the Consulate in Miami can no longer issue passports.
We have no doubt that this will harm the services that we are used to giving hundreds of thousands of Israelis, but this is the result of the opaque finance policy whose harm to the Foreign Ministry continues."