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More than 5,500 new immigrants said to arrive from Eastern Europe since start of war

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

Ukrainian immigrants to Israel who fled fighting in Ukraine arrive on a rescue flight at Ben Gurion Airport, on March 17, 2022. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)
Ukrainian immigrants to Israel who fled fighting in Ukraine arrive on a rescue flight at Ben Gurion Airport, on March 17, 2022. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

More than 5,500 people have immigrated to Israel from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus since Moscow invaded neighboring Ukraine last month, the Immigration and Absorption Ministry says.

According to the ministry, roughly two-thirds of the 5,583 people who have immigrated to Israel since February 24 have come from Ukraine, with the rest coming from Russia and Belarus.

At least another 350 new immigrants from Ukraine are expected to arrive throughout the day, mostly on flights organized by the Jewish Agency and funded by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews from Poland, Moldova and Romania.

Roughly the same number are expected to arrive every day this week, for a total of more than 2,000 new immigrants this week alone, according to Immigration and Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata.

Tamano-Shata says her office is working to streamline the citizenship process in order to handle the incoming massive wave of immigration.

“Our goal is to shorten the process, to provide immediate assistance to immigrants as much as possible. I am glad that thousands of immigrants are getting their needs met by the Immigration and Absorption Ministry, and we expect another 2,000 immigrants to arrive this week,” she says.

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