Thousands of immigrants to Israel from the former Soviet Union “may have come only to receive an Israeli passport before moving back abroad”, reported JTA, with the total such cases amounting to up to a quarter of all Russian immigrants.
The article, citing reporting done by Israeli weekly newspaper Makor Rishon, described how “a cottage industry of companies promising expedited Israeli citizenship, and the passport that comes with it” emerged in Russia, “since the passage of a law allowing new immigrants to receive the travel document within the first three months of [moving to Israel]”.
According to the report, “for many in the post-Soviet world, an Israeli passport is considered as desirable as a European Union passport is to Israelis.”
Now, Russian “fixers” are advertising that they can help those able to emigrate to Israel to obtain Israeli citizenship “within two days” for “a cost of thousands of euros”.
JTA added that, according to Makor Rishon,
Under certain circumstances…the three-month period can be shortened to as little as a day, and some immigrants have even been able to receive their passports without having to leave Ben Gurion International Airport.
Based on data from Israel’s Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, it is estimated that approximately 8,500 immigrants from the former Soviet Union “have come just for the passport before immediately leaving the country”.
One official from the Jewish Agency suggested that as many as 25 per cent of the immigrants came for a passport and “left the country immediately after receiving it”.
In 2018, roughly 10,500 Russians and 6,400 Ukrainians emigrated to Israel, “which was the first year that the majority of new immigrants were not considered Jewish under…Jewish religious law”.