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Israel: discrimination against non-Jewish Ukrainian refugees is ‘completely insane’ 

March 1, 2022 at 2:25 pm

Two orthodox Ukrainian Jews are seen at the Medyka pedestrian border crossing in Poland on 25 February 2022 [WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP/Getty Images]

The racist practices of the state of Israel have become a source of anger and frustration for Ukrainian officials who are seeking safe passage for their citizens fleeing Russia’s invasion of their country. With Europe facing another refugee crises following Moscow’s decision to invade its neighbour, EU states by and large have opened their doors. Israel’s response, however, has been slammed as racist.

Ukraine’s Ambassador in Tel Aviv, Yevgen Korniychuk, is reported by Haaretz as saying that turning non-Jewish refugees away is “completely insane”. He urged the Israeli authorities to accept non-Jews from Ukraine.

Hundreds if not thousands of Ukrainian Jews fleeing the war in their homeland are expected to be granted the right to stay in Israel. Non-Jewish Ukrainians, however will not enjoy the same privilege and face being forced to return to their home country.

Israel said on Friday that it welcomes the migration of thousands of Ukrainian Jews amid an escalating conflict with Russia. Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Haiat told reporters that Jews in Ukraine are welcome to migrate to Israel. “We’ll be happy to receive any Jew who wants to migrate from Ukraine to Israel,” said the Israeli official. There are an estimated 120,000 to 150,000 Jews in Ukraine.

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While the war rages Israel is expected to ease its non-enforcement of laws that would apply to those who have not applied for political asylum, as well as those who have. However, Korniychuk is reported to have complained that Israel has been turning away Ukrainian citizens since the war started.

“This is not acceptable,” he insisted. “Hungary, Poland and Slovakia are allowing hundreds of thousands of our people to come with no ID.” The ambassador added that he had much higher expectations of Israel because the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is a Jew.

The Ukrainian Embassy in Israel released a statement requesting that the colonial state should “refrain from refusing entry” to citizens facing “life threatening military actions.” Writing on the embassy’s official Facebook page, officials said, “As the war in Ukraine rages on, and Ukrainians fight bravely for their country, we urge the Israeli government to step up its support for Ukraine and keep its borders open to refugees seeking shelter.”

Israel’s racist policy has also been slammed by the Palestinians. Under Israel’s Law of Return, individuals who are able to prove that they have at least one Jewish grandparent are able to migrate to Israel. However, Palestinians who were made refugees during the 1948 Nakba, as well as their descendants, are prevented from returning, despite them having a legitimate right to do so under international law. The discriminatory practice was cited by Amnesty International earlier this month in its sensational report in which it declared Israel to be an apartheid state.