Israeli Minister Decries ‘White Man’s Hypocrisy’ on Ukrainian, Russian Immigrant Plan

During cabinet meeting, Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata demands the urgent rescue of eligible Ethiopian immigrants, who have themselves been in a war zone for over a year

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata, in the Knesset in Jerusalem on Monday.
Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata, in the Knesset in Jerusalem on Monday. Credit: Marc Israel Sellem
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Israel's Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata accused ministers of “white man’s hypocrisy” at a cabinet meeting on Monday that approved a national housing plan for Ukrainian and Russian immigrants, saying it was eager to absorb eligible immigrants from those places even as it refuses to bring in eligible immigrants from Ethiopia.

“I’m working tirelessly for Ukrainians eligible to immigrate under the Law of Return,” said the Ethiopian-born Tamano-Shata, adding that she wants to make sure that the voice of Ethiopian Jews is heard. "This is white man’s hypocrisy," she said. "I demand the urgent rescue of eligible immigrants from Tigray and Ethiopia, who have been in a state of war for over a year now.”

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked responded that she was right. But Tamano-Shata was not finished. “Not one of the people talking here has uttered a peep for the eligible immigrants from Ethiopia,” she said. “This is simply white man’s hypocrisy.”

Economy and Industry Minister Orna Barbivai then called on Tamano-Shata to back down.

The housing plan for Ukrainian and Russian immigrants will make use of hundreds of public housing apartments and thousands of prefab homes as well as rental assistance. In addition, new immigrants from those countries will have priority in obtaining subsidized apartments for the elderly over other eligible Israelis, most of whom are also from the former Soviet Union.

The cabinet decided to set up a committee of ministry directors general to advance these housing solutions. The Housing Ministry wants to put as few immigrants as possible in temporary housing, so it plans to offer rental assistance to refugees currently living with relatives as well as those renting on the free market.

Once the immediate housing problems are solved, the Aliyah Ministry said it will provide education and welfare assistance.

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