Ukraine ambassador slams "Israel" for imposing limit on non-Jewish refugees
Ayelet Shaked, the Israeli minister of interior, is under fire for her decision to limit Ukrainian refugee intake.
Since the start of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine, "Israel" has been taking in thousands of Ukrainian refugees, Jewish and non-Jewish. It is estimated that over 4,000 Ukrainians have fled to "Israel" since the start of the operation in late February.
The 'Israeli problem'
On Tuesday, the Israeli Minister of Interior, Ayelet Shaked, announced that there will be a limit to the number of non-Jewish Ukrainian refugees. The decision goes as follows: "Israel" will be allowed to host, temporarily, 20,000 Ukrainian citizens who were already in "Israel" before the war, and will be hosting an additional 5,000. Israelis hosting non-Jewish Ukrainians will have to pay a $3,000 fee to the government.
The 5,000 non-Ukrainian Jews will receive a three-month temporary visa - if the situation in Ukraine does not improve by then, they will be allowed to work.
What is alarming to the entity is that the overwhelming majority of the refugees are non-Jewish: Shaked recently revealed that some 10% of Ukrainians that have already arrived are eligible for taking Israeli citizenship - that could mean that 90% of Ukrainian nationals seeking refuge in "Israel" are non-Jewish.
After Shaked set this limit, the Ukrainian ambassador to "Israel," Yevgen Korniychuk, appealed to the Israeli High Court of Justice to annul her decision, arguing that the law is at odds with previous diplomatic agreements that permit visa exemptions between "Israel" and Ukraine.
The current lawsuit which is being fired against Shaked puts "Israel" in the middle of a balancing act between two countries it holds close interests with: Russia and Ukraine, while taking into consideration its interest to maintain a Jewish majority.
Since the beginning of the conflict, "Israel" attempted to play the role of the mediator between the two countries, but it has also taken advantage of the conflict in Europe to increase its Jewish population.
He mentioned that even if the "chances are not great," he perceives that "Israel" has a "moral responsibility to make every attempt" because he has good contacts with both sides of the conflict.
“This is a challenge for ["Israel"], but it is a challenge that we withstood in the past, time after time,” he said. “Moments like this, in which the world is facing an upheaval and Jews are no longer safe where they are, remind all of us how important it is that there is a home for Jews, whoever they are, and how important it is that we have ["Israel"].”
However, with this, the majority of Ukrainians are not welcome, as images of Ukrainian women lying on the floor in Ben Gurion airport went viral.
Korniychuk, in his appeal, wrote: "the new policy of the Ministry of the Interior violates agreements regarding the exemption from visas for Ukrainian citizens. In light of all the diplomatic possibilities, the embassy has no other choice but to ask [a local] law firm to file a petition with the High Court against the new outline in order to protect the rights of Ukrainian citizens".
While some applauded his letter, others thought of him as rude and intrusive to intervene in Israeli domestic affairs.
"The Ukrainian ambassador submits a petition against ["Israel"], the country that hosts him? Impudence, horror.. it cannot be forgiven", wrote one person.
Another person wrote: "We need to expel him. Russia has always supported Israel. The Ukrainians have always murdered Jews and they will keep on doing so".
While the ambassador already has a history of blatantly offending the hosting entity, there may not be a second chance at wiping the slate clean with the delicate nature of the rising problem.
It is not clear to what extent the Israelis are willing to upset Kiev, and it sure does not want to upset Moscow - internally, to take in thousands of non-Jewish Ukrainians will severely disturb the sectarian facade that the Israelis manage, which bases itself on the blood of Palestinians.