Russian Invasion: 2,500 Ukrainian Jews Ask to Immediately Immigrate to Israel

More than 5,000 Ukrainian Jews had already put in calls to the special Jewish Agency hotline and about half of the callers expressed interest in immigrating to Israel immediately

Judy Maltz
Judy Maltz
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A woman who arrived from Ukraine to Hungary walks with children as they wait to be transferred to a shelter,  in Zahony, Hungary, on Sunday.
A woman who arrived from Ukraine to Hungary walks with children as they wait to be transferred to a shelter, in Zahony, Hungary, on Sunday. Credit: BERNADETT SZABO/Reuters
Judy Maltz
Judy Maltz

More than 5,000 Ukrainian Jews had already put in calls to the special Jewish Agency hotline set up on Thursday, the day of the Russian invasion, to help those interested in leaving the country for Israel as well as Israelis who have relatives in Ukraine.

According to Jewish Agency estimates, about half the callers expressed interest in immigrating to Israel immediately. Last year, a total of 3,100 Ukrainians immigrated to Israel.

The hotline, which is based at the Jewish Agency headquarters in Jerusalem, is being operated in conjunction with the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, an organization that raises funding from evangelical Christians. About 80 percent of the immigrants from Ukraine landing in Israel in recent years have been coming via the Fellowship, which pays for their flights and provides them with small stipends.

The first organized group of immigrants to leave Ukraine for Israel since the Russian invasion crossed the border into Poland on Saturday. They will be put up in Warsaw for the next few days before flying to Tel Aviv.

Anticipating a dramatic increase in requests to immigrate to Israel in the coming days, the Jewish Agency announced on Saturday that it will be opening six document-processing stations at Ukrainian border crossing points with Poland, Moldova, Romania and Hungary. The stations will be operated in conjunction with Nativ, the organization that determines eligibility for aliyah in former Soviet bloc countries, the Fellowship and Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

An estimated 200,000 Ukrainians are eligible to immigrate to Israel and receive automatic citizenship under the Law of Return.  In recent decades, Ukraine and Russian have been the largest suppliers of immigrants to Israel.

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