Israel announced Tuesday that it would temporarily drop the “10,000 shekel” requirement for those seeking refuge. Ukrainian refugees will not have to make a 10,000-shekel ($3,000) deposit in order to stay in Israel while the war rages in their homeland. Instead of putting money into an Israeli bank (as a pledge that when the war is over, they will go back to Ukraine), refugees will just have to sign a piece of paper promising to return home as soon as it is safe to do so.
Before the war started, there were already an estimated 25,000 Ukrainians living illegally in Israel. Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked said that those people can remain and won’t be deported and that the government is prepared to receive another 5,000 non-Jewish Ukrainian refugees, and they can all stay “until the danger subsides.”
This is in addition to the tens of thousands expected as part of the Urgent Aliyah—Jewish people from Ukraine wanting to immigrate to Israel and become citizens. The Institute for Jewish Policy Research estimates that as many as 200,000 Ukrainian Jews are eligible to make Aliyah according to the Law of Return.
Shaked said that Israel anticipates as many as 100,000 Jewish people will make Aliyah—from Ukraine and from Russia (due to an expected increase in persecution as the war rages).
“The sights of war in Ukraine and the suffering experienced by its citizens rattle the soul and don’t allow us to remain indifferent,” Shaked said Tuesday evening at a press conference at the Knesset.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, an estimated 3,400 non-Jewish Ukrainians have arrived in Israel. Perhaps as many as 150 of them were not allowed to enter.
Under the new rules, Shaked said any Ukrainian citizen entering Israel will receive a temporary permit to remain for three months. And if the situation back home in Ukraine continues to deteriorate, those seeking refuge will be allowed to apply for local work.
Among Israel’s 9 million citizens, almost a million of them immigrated from the former Soviet Union—from Russia, Ukraine, and other countries that opened up after the bloc crumbled. Israeli citizens can submit a request to host Ukrainian refugees, with a limit of one family per applicant, Shaked said.
“Israeli citizens can be proud” of the country’s humanitarian efforts toward the Ukrainians, Shaked said.
There are several agencies and ministries—United Hatzalah, the Jewish Agency, International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, and, thanks to many of you—Messiah’s Mandate—helping to bring Ukrainians to safety in Israel.
As of Wednesday, the UN reported that more than 2 million Ukrainian refugees have been displaced so far (both within Ukraine and into Poland, Germany, and several other countries offering temporary refuge), making it the fastest-growing refugee crisis Europe has faced since World War II.
NOTE: Please pray for the Messianic Jewish Israelis to not be refused Aliyah because of their faith. We are already working to help a family of five make Aliyah from Kyiv. Please pray for them.