Interior Minister Shaked announces new plan for Ukrainian refugees

Ayelet Shaked said that Israel is preparing to receive both Ukrainian Jews making aliyah, and non-Jewish refugees who will receive temporary visas.

 Ayelet Shaked addressing questions on the Ukrainian refugees in Israel, March 8, 2022 (photo credit: ELAD ZAGMAN)
Ayelet Shaked addressing questions on the Ukrainian refugees in Israel, March 8, 2022
(photo credit: ELAD ZAGMAN)

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked announced on Tuesday a new plan for the entry of Ukrainian citizens into Israel. The main principles include:

• The State of Israel will temporarily host about 20,000 Ukrainian citizens who were in Israel before the outbreak of hostilities, most of them illegally, until the war ends, and except in exceptional cases, it will not act to forcibly evict them.

• An additional quota of accommodation was set for 5,000 Ukrainian citizens who arrived or will arrive after the outbreak of hostilities.

• Ukrainian citizens who arrive in Israel will receive a temporary visa for a period of three months.

• If the fighting does not stop, Ukrainian citizens will later also be allowed to work in Israel. This is valid for Ukrainian citizens already in Israel and those who will arrive later.

 Interior Monister Ayelet Shaked speaks to Population Authority officials at Ben-Gurion Airport on Sunday about the process of absorbing Ukrainian refugees. (credit: INTERIOR MINISTRY) Interior Monister Ayelet Shaked speaks to Population Authority officials at Ben-Gurion Airport on Sunday about the process of absorbing Ukrainian refugees. (credit: INTERIOR MINISTRY)

• Ukrainian citizens who arrive in Israel under the humanitarian quota will not be forced to deposit any guarantee at the airport. They will only be expected to sign an agreement to leave Israel as soon as the state of emergency ends.

• Any Ukrainian citizen who wishes to come to Israel will have to submit an online application on the Foreign Ministry’s website to present the permit they received upon boarding the plane.

• Israeli citizens will be able to apply to invite Ukrainian citizens, up to one nuclear family per applicant, and they will receive as much priority as possible.

In total, Israel will temporarily host about 25,000 Ukrainian citizens until the conflict ends.

Beyond the unprecedented number of Ukrainian civilians who will be able to stay in Israel until the fighting ends, the government is preparing to receive about 100,000 civilians from Ukraine, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States who are fleeing the fighting in the region according to the Law of Return.

“Israel is expected to be one of the leading countries in the world in absorbing Ukrainians fleeing the battles, certainly compared to its size,” Shaked said at a press conference in which she presented the new policy for the entry of Ukrainian citizens into Israel.

“The sights of the war in Ukraine and the suffering of its citizens are terrifying and do not allow us to remain indifferent,” she said. “These difficult events also have a direct impact on the State of Israel, which is currently preparing to absorb, according to estimates, about 100,000 Jews and those entitled to the Law of Return and their family members fleeing the battle zones.

“It can be determined with certainty that no other country is expected to deal with an event of this magnitude. For example, in terms of population size, it is equivalent to granting citizenship to three and a half million people in the US, or over 700,000 new citizens in England. But as the State of Israel has proven more than once in the past, we can meet this historic challenge,” Shaked said.