Dr Mike Evans

Israel may extend immigration policies to allow more Russian Jews to enter

Israel will discuss the potential of changing its immigration policies to allow more Russians with Jewish heritage to enter following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent decision to mobilize hundreds of thousands of new troops in its efforts against Ukraine.

The possibility was first announced by Israel’s Kan public broadcasting regarding the upcoming policy discussion.

The nation’s current Law of Return policy allows Jews or a person with one or more Jewish parents, grandparents and spouses the right to immigrate to Israel and obtain citizenship.

The changes propose to allow Russian Jews to receive the rights of Aliyah until eligibility is determined, including a subsistence allowance. The switch would follow actions designed to more quickly handle Ukrainian refugees who have entered Israel since the start of the Russian invasion.

The discussion will also include efforts that could more quickly bring Russian Jews to Israel following Putin’s recent actions. Russia’s war in Ukraine has already led to a surge in immigrants to Israel from both Ukraine and Russia.

Reports have noted that 24,000 Russians have moved to Israel since February, with 40,000 total. Approximately 600,000 Russians qualify for Aliyah.

On Sunday, Israel’s government approved NIS 90 million for both Russian and Ukrainian immigrants entering the nation.

“The State of Israel is a safe haven for every Jew in the world and their migration to Israel, no matter the cause, lifts the spirit,” Immigration and Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata said in a statement.

“The Immigration and Absorption Ministry led by me will ensure that all Russian immigrants arriving in Israel these days under challenging circumstances will receive the holistic care they need to fully integrate into the Israeli society as quickly as possible,” she added.

Russia’s situation has also led to new refugee camp areas in Finland and Azerbaijan due to mass departures of Russians. The moves are in addition to millions of Ukrainian refugees who have flooded Poland and other European nations since the start of the conflict.