On Monday, the Zionist watchdog organization Im Tirtzu posted giant billboards across Tel-Aviv’s Ayalon Highway, calling on Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked to oppose “post-Zionist” pressure to influence Israel’s immigration policy regarding Ukraine.
Addressing Shaked, the billboards call on her “not to fold” to pressure calling to open Israel’s borders to tens of thousands of Ukrainians who aren’t eligible for Israel’s Law of Return, which grants citizenship to those who have at least one Jewish grandparent.
“Even though the European Union is granting automatic residency status to Ukrainian refugees, post-Zionists in Israel and abroad are engaged in a widespread campaign to undermine the Jewish character of the state by opening Israel’s border to tens of thousands of non-Jewish Ukrainian refugees,” said Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg.
“There are currently thousands of Ukrainian Jews who are stuck waiting to immigrate to Israel,” continued Peleg, “yet for the first time in Israel’s history, the government is seemingly more interested in helping to bring non-Jews – who can safety reside in the EU – than those eligible for the Law of Return.”
Earlier this month, the European Union decided to grant all Ukrainian refugees a special three-year residency status. However, many left-wing Israeli groups, individuals, and even government ministers have been placing immense pressure on Shaked to not limit the amount of non-Jewish Ukrainian refugees arriving in Israel, despite Israel not sharing a border with Ukraine.
According to the policy announced by Shaked, Israel will admit 5,000 Ukrainians ineligible for citizenship, in addition to 20,000 who were in the country before the war.
However, following public pressure, Shaked backtracked and announced that there would be no cap on relatives of Israelis who aren’t eligible for the Law of Return.
According to statistics published by Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority on Tuesday, since the start of the war, Israel has admitted more than 10,000 Ukrainians ineligible for citizenship – more than double the amount dictated by Shaked, with more entering Israel daily.
Only 4,400 Ukrainians eligible for the Law of Return has come to Israel, with thousands more waiting to be processed.
“Shaked needs to focus on assisting the thousands of Jews waiting to come to Israel and stop folding to post-Zionists seeking to undermine Israel’s Jewish character,” added Peleg. “It would be a crime against Zionism, and Shaked must not surrender.”
Other countries that don’t border Ukraine, like the United States, have been very slow to absorb Ukrainian refugees. According to CNN, only 690 Ukrainian refugees have been admitted to the U.S. since October 21, 2021.
According to a State Department spokesperson, the U.S. would be open to absorbing Ukrainians who fled to third countries if “they cannot be protected in their current location.”