Zelensky Hails Israel’s Top Court for Allowing Visa Exemption for Ukrainians Fleeing War

MUNICH, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 19: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (not pictured) at the 2022 Munich Security Conference on February 19, 2022, in Munich, Germany. The conference, which brings together security experts, politicians and people of influence from across the globe, is …
Matt Dunham - Pool / Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday hailed Israel’s High Court decision to cancel its quota on non-Jewish Ukrainian refugees, in opposition to the government’s position.

“I commend the decision of the Supreme Court of the State of Israel, which obliges the government of Israel to abolish any additional restrictions on the entry of citizens of Ukraine.” Zelensky tweeted.

“The rule of law and respect for human rights is exactly what distinguishes a true, developed democracy!”

The unanimous court ruling revoked Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked’s order restricting entry to Ukrainians fleeing the war with Russia to just 5,000.

More than 1.5 million of Israel’s 9.3 million citizens are from Russia and Ukraine. Some 200,000 Ukrainians are eligible to immigrate to Israel. According to Israel’s Law of Return, any individual with at least one Jewish grandparent is eligible for Israeli citizenship. Thousands of Ukrainians sought refuge in Israel after the Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

Last week, the Ukrainian embassy attacked Shaked’s order, claiming that “the Israeli government has unilaterally decided, contrary to all agreements, to ban Ukrainian women and children who do not have an electronic visa. This decision is life-threatening. Meanwhile, Russian and Belarusian oligarchs are entering the country freely.”

Ukrainian citizens can now enter as they had prior to the war — without a visa, which was first waived for tourism purposes only.

Not counting the refugees, there are some 25,000 Ukrainians already in Israel illegally.

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