The number of people who have migrated to Israel from Russia and Ukraine has increased dramatically since the Russian invasion of Ukrainian territory began in February, the Israeli government said Wednesday.
Between 25 February and 25 July, Israel received 12.175 new immigrants from Ukraine and 19 .891 from Russia, according to a report by the Central Bureau of Statistics released today.
This represents 318 )% more than in the same period of 2019 – before the covid pandemic 19 which caused a drastic reduction in international travel – when 2.651 immigrants from Ukraine and 7.123 from Russia were registered.
The office also reported that of the 27.497 people who migrated to Israel in 2021, half came from former Soviet republics, mainly Russia and Ukraine.
These people people arrive in Israel under the Law of Return, which allows immigration for the Jewish people.
Recently, Russia requested the closure of the local office of the Jewish Agency, a body linked to the Israeli government with a presence in many countries that deals with serving the Jewish diaspora and facilitating immigration procedures for those who wish to become Israeli citizens.
The Russian government alleges that the Jewish Agency allegedly violates its privacy laws by receive external funding from agencies or countries that Russia considers “foreign agents”.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog discussed this issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a telephone conversation yesterday.
Furthermore, an Israeli delegation traveled to Moscow in 27 July to prevent the closing of the Jewish Agency branch, while the Kremlin asked not to politicize the matter due to Israeli complaints that it would affect the relationship
The relationship between Israel and Russia – traditionally fluid – has remained tense since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, as the Jewish country has aligned itself with the Western powers that have condemned the invasion, although it has not imposed sanctions or sent military aid so as not to shake its strategic alliance with Moscow in Syria.