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March 15, 2022 2:07 pm
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Israel Approves Plan to Rapidly Absorb 100,000 Ukrainian Jews

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Travellers exit Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport, amid a spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), near Tel Aviv, Israel July 8, 2021. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

The Israeli government approved a plan on Tuesday to rapidly absorb the wave of Ukrainians who are fleeing Russia’s invasion and immigrating to the Jewish state.

The approval comes as Israel’s interior minister estimated last week that as many as 100,000 Ukrainians will immigrate, or make aliyah, under the Law of Return, which provides citizenship to Jews and their relatives.

The plan will be overseen by Meir Spiegler, who leads Israel’s national task force on the Ukrainian aliyah, and includes three main elements, Israeli public broadcaster Kan reported.

The first is establishing an emergency headquarters in Europe to coordinate between various organizations helping transport refugees out of the warzone, and assist the rescue of Jews to Israel.

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A second headquarters will be set up at Ben-Gurion Airport to assist those making aliyah, known as olim. It will streamline the absorption process by issuing immediate visas and entry permits, and organizing transportation to the olim’s new places of residence. Representatives from the Aliyah and Absorption Ministry and IDF Homefront Command, as well as Ukrainian speakers, will be on hand.

The third and central element of the plan focuses on the Aliyah and Absorption Ministry itself, which in collaboration with local authorities will help with housing, employment, education, welfare benefits, and other necessities for the olim.

Aliyah and Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata said the plan was approved after “days of around-the-clock work,” and seeks to ensure the immigration process “will be efficient, service-oriented, and organized, with a minimum of bureaucracy and with the best welcome, as it ought to be for the olim.”

“There is a crisis situation here that will be dealt with to the best of our ability,” she added.

“We are one nation with one vision,” commented Spiegler, and all parties will be included in the effort to “help those who need it most.”

“There will be more bumps [in the road], no doubt, but that’s why we’re here — so we can solve everything in advance and on the move,” he said.

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