Israel extends residency permits for Ukrainian refugees until end of 2024

More than 15,000 Ukrainians have immigrated to Israel since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine in Feb. 2022.

By Troy O. Fritzhand, The Algemeiner

The Israeli government on Wednesday announced that Ukrainian refugees who fled their country due to the ongoing war with Russia can remain in Israel until the end of 2024, extending their stay in a move that was welcomed by Ukraine.

“We praise the current decision of the government of Israel to prolong approval for Ukrainian citizens to legally stay in Israel until the end of 2024!” Ukraine’s Embassy in Israel said in a statement. “This decision is especially generous in these challenging times for the State of Israel.”

The Ukrainian embassy appeared to be referencing Israel’s ongoing war in Gaza against the Hamas terror group, which launched the conflict with its Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel.

The decision to extend the stay for Ukrainian refugees was made by Israeli Interior Minister Moshe Arbel.

Ukraine’s Ambassador to Israel, Yevgen Korniychuk, praised the move.

“We highly appreciate this decision,” he said. “Our nations are going together through the hardest times and even now, we feel the support of the Israeli people.”

Korniychuk’s comments came after he and Israeli officials clashed over Israel’s treatment of Ukrainian citizens.

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The ambassador had warned last year that Hasidic visitors would be banned from the Ukrainian city of Uman — the site of the annual Rosh Hashanah pilgrimage to the tomb of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, the revered founder of the Breslover Hasidim — in response to Israel’s deportation of Ukrainian citizens.

According to Korniychuk, Israel had deported around 10 percent of Ukrainian refugees arriving in the country. Israel rejected the criticism, asserting that the envoy’s figures for deportations were “inflated.”

Over 20,000 Hasidim ended up making the pilgrimage to Uman in September, despite security concerns about traveling to a country at war. Uman has been targeted by Russian forces on several occasions since the invasion. In April, at least 20 people were killed in an air strike on the city.

The two governments have also clashed over the provision of medical insurance to Ukrainian refugees in Israel. In August, thousands of refugees found themselves without coverage before the Israeli authorities agreed to an extension until the end of the year.

More than 15,000 Ukrainians have immigrated to Israel since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine in Feb. 2022, according to government figures released early last year. The Israeli government has budgeted 40 million NIS ($10.7 million) for their welfare.

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Millions of refugees have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion.