Native, Jewish Agency and government ministries preparing to absorb growing requests from Ukraine’s Jewish community, with first group of immigrants crossing into Poland on Sunday
Israeli immigration authorities in Ukraine said late on Saturday that there are receiving 400 telephone calls a day and have issued 160 exit permits to Jews in Ukraine since the Russian invasion of the country four days ago.
Nativ, an organization affiliated with the Prime Minister’s Office that is operating among Jewish communities in Eastern Europe, said there were no requests until the invasion began.
“I suppose we are at the start of an immigration wave,” Neta Briskin-Peleg, head of Nativ told Ynet. “I cannot say how many will come and if they will stay only during the war,” she said.
Nativ is coordinating with the Foreign Ministry to review immigration requests she said.
“Because of the shelling and the danger to Israeli diplomats, we are allowing immigration requests to be forwarded online, and have bolstered our staffing at the Ben Gurion Airport to review documents of Ukrainians upon their arrival,” she said.
Immigration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata and Diaspora Minister Nachman Shai will join the security cabinet meeting later on Sunday where the matter of increased immigration from Ukraine will be discussed.
More than 50,000 Ukrainian Jews immigrated to Israel in the past decade, 13,000 arrived in the past three years.
The Immigration Ministry said they were preparing to receive the growing number of immigrants. “We have been preparing for the past month in coordination with the relevant ministries and will do everything in our power to assist the Jewish community in Ukraine,” Tamano-Shata said, adding that Israel is prepared to offer any humanitarian assistance.
The Jewish Agency said it is preparing to launch six offices at Ukraine’s borders with Poland, Romania, Moldova and Hungary to help expedite immigration. The first group of new-immigrants, is expected to cross into Poland on Sunday.
Israeli diplomats have been instructed to operate across the border in Poland and the immigrants will be housed in hotels and apartments there before they can board flights to Israel.