Support The Moscow Times!

Israel Denies Entry to Thousands of Russians Amid Asylum Spike – Haaretz

Valery Sharifulin / TASS

Israel has refused entry to nearly 6,000 Russians this year as it attempts to contain the increase in asylum applications from Russian travelers, the Haaretz newspaper reported Thursday.

Israeli officials have noted a surge in asylum requests from Russian citizens in recent years, leading officials to triple the number of times they denied entry to Russian citizens in 2018.

Officials at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport refused entry to 5,700 Russians in 2019, according to Haaretz. Russia’s Embassy in Israel placed that figure at 5,771 last week.

That’s up from 4,355 refusals in 2018, according to Haaretz.

“These large numbers of denied entries create disquiet on both sides,” Shlomo Mor Yosef, the head of Israel’s Interior Ministry’s Population and Immigration Authority, was quoted as saying.

Haaretz noted that the situation has further been complicated by Russia’s jailing of Israeli-American citizen Naama Issacher on drug charges in November, as well as dozens of cases last week of Israeli nationals being held up on arrival in Moscow airports.

Israel turned down 180 asylum requests in the two months since it adopted new rules expediting asylum denials for Russian nationals, Haaretz reported.

Israel reportedly adopted similar expedited asylum processing rules for Ukrainian and Georgian nationals two years ago.

“We managed to deal with the Ukrainians and the Georgians and now we have begun with the Russians,” Mor Yosef was quoted as saying.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

Please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world's largest country.