A Year Into The War In Ukraine

24.02.23, Tali Ehrenthal


Dear partners and supporters,

Exactly one year ago today, the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, and with it began the wave of millions of war refugees who risked their lives and were forced to leave their home, family and all they knew behind. Millions of Ukrainian refugees arrived in European countries and a small part of them – a few thousands – arrived in Israel. As of today, approximately 14,000 Ukrainian citizens who fled here since the start of the war and who do not fall under the “law of return” are staying in Israel, the vast majority of them are women and children. On top of that, about 20,000 Ukrainian citizens who were here before this date for various reasons are staying in Israel; Tourists, asylum seekers, workers and more. Since the war started they haven’t been able to return to their home. The Ukrainian citizens here are currently protected from deportation to their country and stay in Israel legally.

Shortly after the beginning of the war, the Ministry of Social Affairs announced that it would provide basic assistance as part of a designated call center for  those who fled. The aid was given only to those who arrived in Israel after the outbreak of the war (24.2.22) and included limited health and welfare services. One year into the war, the needs of the refugees who live in Israel are increasing, and the limited health and welfare services provided by the state are disappearing. With the passage of time, we are witnessing a deterioration of the economic situation, and the health and mental condition of refugees as their savings are running out, their chronic diseases and health needs require treatment, and the untreated traumas from the war, flight and immigration to a new country are starting to wear them down.

As an organization committed to protecting and promoting the rights of refugees and asylum seekers regardless of religion or nationality, we began to act immediately upon the outbreak of the crisis. Among other things, we established relationships with aid organizations and social activities in the field for the purpose of mapping the challenges and difficulties of the refugees from Ukraine who arrived in Israel, and started public advocacy to expand the services provided to them and promote their rights. Recently, with the aim of expanding the direct assistance to the community, our team was joined by Uliana Driuchkova, as Mapping and Support Coordinator for Ukrainian refugees. We are sure that she will greatly contribute to the organization’s ability to expand aid to this community.

 Our accumulated experience in assisting refugees and asylum seekers from Eritrea and Sudan, who have been living in Israel legally for about 15 years under group protection against deportation, shows that without a social envelope – health and welfare – the refugees are forced into a life of poverty, food insecurity and constant deterioration. Unfortunately, the situation is not very different when it comes to refugees from Ukraine. Instead of learning from the mistakes of the past and making sure that those who fled here from wars and persecution receive health and welfare assistance and services that will allow them to rehabilitate and live here with dignity until they can return home, Israel has given the Ukrainian refugees minimal assistance and by applying a vague and arbitrary policy regarding the extension of their residence visas and employment opportunities, it is a causing uncertainty and instability among the Ukrainian refugees.

In the short term, the State of Israel must act immediately to renew and expand the services provided to Ukrainian refugees so that they will be able to live with dignity and security. In the longer term, the State of Israel must join the rest of the Western countries in the world and establish an orderly and fair asylum system according to the international refugee law and prepare a plan for receiving refugees into its territory. Until the state comes to its senses, we will continue to support the refugees both through direct humanitarian and psychosocial assistance and with public advocacy – to promote their rights and expand the services provided to them.

Israel Hampering Ukrainians From Leading a Dignified Life, UN Envoy for Refugees in Israel Tells Haaretz

The representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Israel, Mathijs Le Rutte, expressed his fear for the future of the Ukrainians who had fled to Israel, six months after taking up the post at the height of the refugee crisis caused by the war in Ukraine.

Read The Full Article

A year after, Ukrainian refugees in Israel getting ‘inadequate’ aid 

A year after the war: ASSAF report on the situation of refugees in Israel as fetured is The Times Of Israel

Read The Full Article

I24News Interview on the situation of Ukranian refugees in Israel

A year into the Ukraine war Dr Shani bar Tuvia on i24NEWS talks about the detreating situation of Ukrainian refugees who came to Israel.

Watch The Full Interview

Back to top