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Israel extends benefits to Ukrainian immigrants until end of 2023

Ukrainians immigrants arriving on a rescue flight at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, March 17, 2022. (Photo: Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

Israel has decided to extend assistance to Ukrainian immigrants until at least the end of 2023, according to an announcement from the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem.

The decision "to extend the social and health assistance to those who have fled the war in Ukraine until the end of the year” was reportedly coordinated with Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, following criticism from the Ukrainian ambassador.

Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk blasted Netanyahu's government earlier for ending medical assistance to Ukrainian refugees who have settled in the Jewish state.

“Not only does the Israeli government refuse to sell Ukraine protective measures against the murder of our citizens by the Russians — now Israel is also stopping medical assistance for refugees who fled to Israel from the threat of brutal killing at the hands of the Russians,” Korniychuk said.

In 2022, some 70,000 immigrants arrived in Israel, according to the Jewish Agency, reportedly the highest number of immigrants to Israel in two decades.

Not surprisingly, the large majority of the immigrants hailed from Ukraine and Russia.

Only about 28% of immigrants from Ukraine and Russia are defined as being of Jewish descent according to traditional Jewish rabbinic law, which has become a controversial political issue, especially under the current government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Many immigrants from Russia and Ukraine are struggling in Israel, according to a December 2022 study released by Israel's Bar-Ilan University and One Million Lobby. The areas of highest challenge are financial, social, cultural and linguistic, according to the study.

Approximately one-third of the new immigrants from the war-torn region have reportedly already left the Jewish state.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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