TEL AVIV (Realist English). Five days into the special military operation in the Ukraine, and already estimated 5,000 Ukrainian Jews are expected to seek emigration to Israel using the Law of Return.
Israeli officials had issued early warnings that were largely ignored by the Ukrainian Jews.
Still, in every crisis it’s been a long-standing practice of the Jewish state to offer itself as safe haven for the world’s Jewry, especially taking into account the never-ending demographic race with the Palestinians.
The would-be émigrés had been urged to leave discreetly as these move are capable of driving a wedge between the Ukraine’s Jewish and non-Jewish citizens because the have no such option.
Preparations under way
Quetly, Israel is preparing for a big wave of immigration from the Ukraine that will significantly surpass the 3,000 who arrived last year. If this comes true, it will be through acquiring the “refugee” category, a status that would allow special conditions.
As a senior Israeli source told MEE Israel will offer 6,000 shekels ($1,850) to each single Ukrainian Jew escaping the military operation. Every couple will get 11,000 ($3,400) and every family – 15,000 ($4,600). These sums were never seen for aliyah outside of wartime.
Since they would have had to leave everything behind, extra financing would be provided in addition to the usual “absorption basket”.
Under current domestic circumstance, where large parts of Israeli society are experiencing a general sense of dissatisfaction and feeling the bite of rising living costs, any decision will have not only financial implications but political ones, too. Financial support for new émigrés tends to anger and even protests on the part of “older Israelis”, who feel that this comes at their expense.
How about elegibility?
Ethiopian-born Israel’s Minister of Absorption Tamano-Shata is a proof the narrative the “Ethiopians absorbing the Ukrainians” – and not vice versa.
48,000 of the 200,000 Ukrainians eligible to apply are Jews according to religious law. Still, over 150,000 are not. But they may apply for aliyah under the Law of Return.
The definition of “who is a Jew” according to the religious law is rather simple: everybody born to a Jewish mother.
The Law of Return, on the other hand, is a secular Zionist law that offers a much broader definition of who is a Jew – having a Jewish grandfather suffices in this case.