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Israel and Ukraine: Visa-Free No More?

Ukrainian envoy to Israel cautioned Jerusalem about the potential consequences of the mistreatment faced by Ukrainian individuals attempting to enter Israel in August warning that Hasidic pilgrims might become the target of Kiev’s retaliatory actions.

In 2010, Israel has entered into a visa-free agreement with Ukraine. But in 2024, Israeli authorities introduced electronic travel authorization (ETA-IL) for citizens of the countries exempt from Israeli visas. These newly-updated requirements will come into force on July 1, 2024.

Ukraine’s ambassador to Israel announced that Ukraine is prepared to reciprocate Israel’s implementation of electronic visas, since Jerusalem’s new policy is making it extremely difficult for many citizens of Ukraine to enter the country.

In the latest Facebook post, Ukrainian embassy stated that Israel’s most recent stipulation effectively brings an end to the visa-free arrangement between two countries, leaving Kyiv with no other option but to reciprocate by implementing comparable pre-approval prerequisites for Israeli citizens, including religious pilgrims.

Tens of thousands of followers of Breslov branch of Hasidic Judaism (Breslover Hasidim) travel to Ukraine every year to observe the Jewish New Year in Ukrainian town of Uman, located to the south of Kiev, and pay homage to the grave of their movement’s originator, Reb Nachman of Bratslav.

Ukrainian envoy to Israel cautioned Jerusalem about the potential consequences of the mistreatment faced by Ukrainian individuals attempting to enter Israel in August warning that Hasidic pilgrims might become the target of Kiev’s retaliatory actions.

According to Ukrainian embassy, Kyiv’s reciprocal actions may affect thousands of religious pilgrims visiting Ukraine annually, but Ukraine is ready and willing to engage in a constructive conversation with Israel in order to address and deliberate upon these alterations in travel policies, with the aim of benefiting both countries.

Last year, Ukrainian officials claimed that approximately 10% of Ukrainian tourists in Israel were deported without any explanation. In response, Israeli officials argued that individuals who are believed to be using their tourist visas for unauthorized work or residency are at risk of being expelled.

WTNJOIN | eTurboNews | eTN

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