Israel is urgently preparing for a large immigration wave from Russia as Moscow moves deeper into war mode. Current estimates predict tens of thousands of newcomers following the Russian decision to call up 300,000 reservists for deployment in Ukraine.
A senior official says that Israel now fears for the fate of Russian Jews, Kan News reported. However, leaving Russia could be very difficult in the near future, he warned.
Israel is already taking steps to ensure the quick transfer of potential arrivals. Prime Minister Yair Lapid spoke to the CEO of El Al Airlines and urged him to increase flights to get more people out of Russia, the report said.
Israel criticizes Russia
So far, 24,000 immigrants moved to Israel from Russia since the start of the Ukraine war, Kan said. Another 13,000 Jews received immigration visas and 20,000 others have started the process, Maariv daily reported.
Meanwhile, officials from the Foreign Ministry, Treasury, and Immigration Absorption Ministry met to discuss further arrangements and funding for this large national project, N12 said.
In parallel, a senior Israeli official criticized Russia’s large military mobilization and nuclear threats. The unnamed official said that there was no reason to launch the war in Ukraine in the first place.
The latest developments are expected to further strain Israeli-Russian tensions. Israel is also concerned about closer military ties between Moscow and Tehran, with Iran reportedly providing the Russian army with drones for the war.