Israelis detained at Moscow airport is ‘routine,’ says Israeli foreign ministry

Russia may be sending a “message” to Israel, which refuses entry to thousands of Russians every year, media speculates.

By World Israel News Staff

Within a two week period, dozens of Israeli tourists have been detained in Moscow’s Domodedovo airport for hours without explanation.

On Dec. 19, 15 Israelis on an El Al flight were detained at the Russian airport, and on Dec. 18,  46 Israelis were detained for six hours for no apparent reason.

The latter case occurred one day after American-Israeli Naama Issachar’s appeal was rejected by the Russian courts. Issachar, who in April had stopped in Moscow en route to Israel from India, was arrested after 9.5 grams of marijuana was found in her luggage. She is now serving a 7.5-year prison sentence.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon after the group of Israeli tourists was detained.

“A number of Israeli citizens were questioned this morning by immigration authorities in Russia. Some entered the country after being questioned briefly, and some are still detained and the questioning is lasting longer. The delays are a routine process and their length is determined according to the procedures of the host country and according to its laws,” the statement said.

However many media outlets are reporting that Russia is sending a “message” to Israel which refuses entry to thousands of Russians every year.

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“According to the information we have, until December 1, 5,771 Russian tourists were not allowed to enter Israel,” the Russian Embassy in Israel said in a statement last week. “In October this year alone, 568 Russian tourists were refused entry into Israel, and in November 569 Russian tourists [were refused entry]. Each day, 20 tourists who arrive in Israel with money and an organized tour are detained and sent back to Russia.”