Jewish Agency States Thousands of Ukrainians Inquiring about Moving to Israel

An official of the Jewish Agency stated on Saturday that they had received thousands of inquiries in recent days from Ukrainian citizens about immigrating to Israel (aliyah). This was after a full-scale invasion was launched by Russia of the Eastern European country. A semi-governmental body, the Jewish Agency oversees and encourages immigration to Israel. Due to the Russian offensive, the Jewish Agency has been gearing up to facilitate the expected immigration wave from Ukraine to Israel. This includes establishing emergency hotlines for providing details about the immigration process. Under the law of return in Israel, about 200,000 people in Ukraine can immigrate the country.

An individual can get Israeli citizenship if they have at least one Jewish grandparent. The organization said on Saturday that they were establishing six stations for aliyah processing on Ukraine borders with Hungary, Romania, Moldova and Poland, as massive numbers of Ukrainian refugees began to flee the country. The Jewish Agency has its offices located in Kyiv, but it moved from there last Monday and began operating from Lviv, the Western Ukrainian city. This was after the Israeli government had warned of an impending attack by Russia. With the Russian offensive expanding on Saturday and Lviv also becoming a target, the organization said that it had abandoned those offices as well.

Its emissaries were now moving to the border’s Polish side, as the Israeli Foreign Ministry had done the same. The Jewish Agency disclosed that emissaries would cross the border with Israel’s diplomatic teams every day for providing assistance to Ukrainian Jews who want to migrate to Israel. It said that the Jewish Agency was also working on increasing the number of stations. According to the organization, they would temporarily house the prospective immigrants in Hungary, Romania, Moldova and Poland while they await transport. 

They would accomplish this with the help of funds that are obtained from the Jewish Federations of Keren Hayesod, North America, along with other donors globally. In the past few days, many people have already gotten in touch with the Jewish Agency about immigrating to Israel because of the Russian invasion. While not all of them will be able to complete the immigration process, it would still be a major increase from the previous years. Last year, only 3,100 people had emigrated from Ukraine to Israel. According to Israeli officials, they are prepared to receive thousands of Jewish immigrants. 

The immigration process is ordinarily time-consuming and the Jewish Agency is trying to streamline it in light of the war. Nativ, a governmental organization, which has close ties to Jews, has been assisting in this effort. They have helped in document verification and approving immigration eligibility. There had been a similar increase in immigration to Israel from Ukraine back in 2014 when Russia had invaded Crimea. The Jewish Agency said that it took a 16-hour process for the first group of immigrants to cross into Poland after the outbreak of the fighting on Saturday. The organization said that they were currently staying at a hotel in Warsaw before they are transported to Israel.

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