search

Liberman: Ease entry for Russians, Ukrainians with one Jewish great-grandparent

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

Sasha Zlobjn, the 10,000th person to immigrate to Israel since Russia invaded his native Ukraine, stands in Ben Gurion Airport shortly after landing on March 28, 2022. (Immigration and Absorption Ministry)
Sasha Zlobjn, the 10,000th person to immigrate to Israel since Russia invaded his native Ukraine, stands in Ben Gurion Airport shortly after landing on March 28, 2022. (Immigration and Absorption Ministry)

Finance Minister and Yisrael Beytenu chief Avigdor Liberman proposes easing entry requirements to Israel for residents of the former Soviet Union with at least one Jewish great-grandparent in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

However, he denies aiming to permanently change Israel’s Law of Return — the basis for its immigration policies — to include members of this “fourth generation.”

Earlier today, Liberman organized an interministerial meeting to discuss granting extended tourist visas to such a population, sparking a flurry of accusations that he was looking to rewrite the Law of Return, which currently guarantees citizenship to anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent or who has converted to Judaism.

“We are not proposing including the fourth generation in the Law of Return or giving them automatic citizenship, but rather to treat them on the basis of our historical obligation to humanitarian and Jewish values,” Liberman says, in an extended Twitter thread.

“The Jewish people experienced no shortage of tragedies and misery in the Second World War, which was at a time when no country accepted Jewish refugees. This is the fourth generation, the offspring of Jews who have a clear link to Judaism and a direct connection to their families living in Israel,” he says.

Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed