(JTA) — In response to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, Israel is ready to take in 5,000 new non-Jewish Ukrainian refugees and to allow 20,000 non-Jewish Ukrainians who are already in the country, many illegally, to remain.
Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked made the announcement Tuesday. Israel’s Law of Return normally offers citizenship only to people with at least one Jewish grandparent.
Israel had previously courted controversy for demanding a deposit from non-Jewish migrants of around $3,000, to make sure that they would eventually leave. That stipulation has been dropped.
Israel is also preparing to receive several thousand Jewish Ukrainians in the coming months. Over 300 arrived last weekend.
“The sights of war in Ukraine and the suffering experienced by its citizens rattle the soul and don’t allow us to remain indifferent,” The Times of Israel quoted Shaked as saying at a press conference.
Meanwhile, Haaretz reported that 440 Russian Jews arrived in Israel on Wednesday, as that country’s economy buckles under the sanctions imposed by the West.