Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi / Flash 90
Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked speaks during a Yamina party meeting at the Knesset, in Jerusalem on July 5, 2021.

Israel’s Minister of the Interior Ayelet Shaked issued Tuesday evening a somewhat irate response to claims made by Ukraine that Israel has not allowed Ukrainian refugees safe haven in the country.

Shaked responded to claims that were made by Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk during a press conference held earlier in the day. Korniychuk asserted that Minister Shaked had personally decided “not allow Ukrainian refugees to come to Israel” and that his government was “disappointed” with this decision.

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The Ambassador cited what he claimed to be the cases of Ukrainians who tried to enter Israel but were denied admission due to bureaucrat red tape. “We are asking for your humanity to understand our people’s needs,” he pleaded of Israeli authorities. “They are not choosing where to stay and some of them are coming [to Israel] because they have relatives here or friends that are willing to take care of them. We are not talking about illegal workers.”

Ambassador Korniychuk’s comments were not well received by Ayelet Shaked.

“You should stick to the facts,” she told him in a Twitter post. “As of this morning, 97 passengers from different countries around the world have arrived in Israel with a Ukrainian passport, of which only 2 have been refused.”

Shaked explained that the few cases in which someone had a problem being admitted to Israel included one passenger who came from Georgia with what she described as a “borrowed identity” and apparently not his own passport. She said that the second case was of a person who came to Israel from Poland wanting to immigrate. So neither of the people who were refused entry into the country came directly from Ukraine and were not forced to return there. Both were sent to the countries that they had come from in accordance with international aviation laws.

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