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Israelis detained for hours at Ukraine airport, will be deported

Seven Israelis have been detained for more than four hours at Ukraine’s international airport, Channel 12 reports, and are being deported back to Israel amid a tiff between Jerusalem and Kyiv.

The Israelis, who include journalist Shai Golden and singer Elkana Marciano, are waiting for a flight back to Israel, which they will be able to board only if there are empty seats left.

Avichai Shahaf, one of those detained, is quoted as saying that the Ukrainian officials have expressly admitted the detention is political.

“The Ukrainians told us Israel is returning their people so they decided to return us,” he says, adding that the matter is being dealt with by the Israeli embassy and the foreign minister.

Shira Ronen, the wife of one of the detainees, is quoted as saying the men came for a quick visit to the city of Uman, a pilgrimage site for many Hasidic Jews where a prominent rabbi is buried.

“They are waiting at the airport and not doing anything. They put a policeman next to them and they aren’t allowed to go anywhere. I understood they tried to find out what happened and weren’t given any answers,” she says.

Similar incidents have happened several times in Ukraine over the past year. In recent weeks authorities in neighboring Russia also detained several groups of Israelis without giving a reason.

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