The Belarus Ministry of Foreign Affairs has summoned the Israeli ambassador to Minsk Alon Shoham, over what the ministry has called “unfair denials of entry” to Belarussians traveling to Israel.

According to a press release of the Belarus MFA, the Israeli migration authorities denied entry to 11 Belarusians, who reached Tel Aviv with a Belavia Belarusian Airlines flight, on October 7. At the same time, another 18 Belarusian citizens were rejected entry to Israel at the borders, within two weeks.

Our citizens, who were on their way to resorts, to meet with friends and family members, have to spend days in temporary detention centers waiting for an opportunity to fly home. The reasons for denying entry to them that we know of contain not a single actual violation,” the statement reads.

According to it, while the MFA of Belarus supports international efforts to fight illegal migration and respects the sovereign right of nations to reasonably restrict entry to their territories, they believe that the ongoing entry rejections for Belarusians traveling to Israel are unprecedented.

The statement brings up the fact that Belarus has the ratio of issued Schengen visas per capita to the number of refusals is the world’s lowest, in an attempt to prove that Belarusians are law-abiding

We agreed to sign the visa-free travel agreement with Israel in order to facilitate and simplify mutual contacts of the citizens of our countries. However, actions of the Israeli side discredit the entire process. The practice of denying entry to Belarusian citizens has reached a massive scale and is fundamentally unacceptable for us,” the press release says, explaining why the Ministry summoned the Israeli ambassador to Belarus to give him a note of protest.

Earlier in August, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu reached an agreement regarding the mass denial of Israel border crossing for Ukrainians.

According to data published by the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine over 3,500 Ukrainians out of 100,000 were turned back at the entry borders of Israel, not being permitted to enter. On the other hand, only during the first months of 2019, Israel did not allow about 1,600 of the Ukrainians to enter. The numbers seem to be dropping, as in 2017 4,500 Ukrainians were denied entry to Israel.

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