Israel Ministry Says 15,000 Immigrants Have Come in since Russia Invaded Ukraine

According to the Immigration and Absorption Ministry in Israel, almost 9,000 people have immigrated to the country in the last two months, which is almost three times as the number in 2021. Likewise, almost 400 Belarusians, along with 6,000 Russians have also entered the country because of the brutal invasion of Ukraine by Russia. The ministry disclosed on Monday that another 10,000 people had also expressed their interest in immigrating to Israel. This would mean that the current immigration wave is the largest to have occurred in the last 30 years since the fall of the Soviet Union. 

However, this is significantly less than the 100,000 new immigrants that had been predicted by Israel, as a result of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Pnina Tamano-Shata, the Immigration and Absorption Minister, said that they had spent the last two months absorbing immigration. He added that the State of Israel had gotten about 15,000 new immigrants since the war began in Ukraine and it was a source of national pride for them. Most of the immigrants from Ukraine are the elderly and women and children. The draft laws of Ukraine have made it difficult for men of working age to leave.

According to the ministry, women immigrants are two times the number of men. Of the total 15,000 immigrants that have come from Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine, 18% of them are elderly, while minors account for one-fourth of the number. The Ministry disclosed that the most popular destination amongst the immigrants was Netanya, as almost one-tenth of them had decided to settle in the coastal city. This is about 1,543 people. Some of the other locales that have become hotspots for immigrants are Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa. The majority of the immigrants have already shifted to long-term housing and only 3,000 of them are still living in hotel rooms sponsored by the government.

Tamano-Shana said that this was because rental assistance had been provided by a government program to the immigrants. As per this program, immigrants will receive NIS 2,300 ($714) every month for about a year. This will be given to individuals, but couples will receive NIS 2,900 ($880) who have two children. Families that have three or more children will be given NIS 3,400 ($1,032). Hundreds of immigrant kids have already been enrolled in schools in Israel and more than 1,500 are taking part in some educational programs. 

The ministry stated that a dozen programs had been launched all over Israel to teach Hebrew to immigrant children. Tamano-Shata said that it was not trivial that a big portion of the immigrants were entering the workforce, learning Hebrew and entering the school system as well as renting apartments. The minister said that many of these immigrants had had to leave their loved ones behind, along with their property. However, he said that the Immigration and Absorption Ministry’s accumulated knowledge and dedication had paid off in a time of crisis and they were ready to accept and were expecting plenty more immigrants as the war continues. 

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