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Absorption ministry: 15,000 new immigrants from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus in past 2 months

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

Jewish immigrants fleeing from war zones in the Ukraine arrive at the immigration and absorption office, at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, on March 15, 2022. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Jewish immigrants fleeing from war zones in the Ukraine arrive at the immigration and absorption office, at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, on March 15, 2022. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Over the past two months, nearly 9,000 people from Ukraine have immigrated to Israel — nearly three times as many as in all of 2021 — as have nearly 6,000 Russians and 400 Belarusians in the wake of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, according to the Immigration and Absorption Ministry.

Another 10,000 people have expressed interest in immigrating as well, the ministry says. While this would make the current wave of immigration by far the largest in the past 30 years, it would be far, far short of the initial projections of up to 100,000 new immigrants as a result of the Russian war.

“We have been through two intensive months of absorbing immigration. From the start of the war in Ukraine, the State of Israel has received more than 15,000 new immigrants and this is a source of great national pride,” Immigration and Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata says in a statement.

The significant majority of the Ukrainian immigrants are women, children, and elderly, as the country’s draft laws have made it difficult for adult men to leave. Twice as many women have immigrated as men, according to the ministry.

Of the 15,000 immigrants from Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus, roughly a quarter are minors and 18 percent are over the age of 66.

According to the ministry, Netanya has become the most popular destination for the immigrants, with roughly a tenth — 1,543 — choosing to settle in the coastal city. The other leading cities are, perhaps unsurprisingly, the country’s largest three municipalities: Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv.

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