Minister likens Ukraine refugees to Jews fleeing Holocaust, says Israel must open its doors

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

Women and children refugees fleeing the Russian invasion from Ukraine board a bus to Warsaw in Przemysl, Poland, March 1, 2022 (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)
Women and children refugees fleeing the Russian invasion from Ukraine board a bus to Warsaw in Przemysl, Poland, March 1, 2022 (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai calls on Israel to open its doors to Ukrainian refugees, comparing their plight to those of Jews trying to flee the Holocaust.

“Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees have already crossed into neighboring countries or have been stranded outside of their country and are unable to return. We remember today the Jewish refugees 80 years ago who crossed continents and seas but were rejected,” Shai says.

“The State of Israel, the state of the Jewish people, must open its gates to these refugees. This is our basic humanitarian obligation,” he says.

Shai’s comments come a day after Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk criticized Jerusalem for failing to let in Ukrainian refugees.

Though it has not opened itself to mass migration, Israel is allowing Ukrainian citizens into the country and has agreed to halt deportations of those staying here without visas.

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