The ongoing issue of Ukrainians being denied visa-free entry to Israel may have come to an end. In a meeting of officials from the governments of both countries, led by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, an agreement was reached regarding the of mass denial of Israel border crossing for Ukrainians.
According to a press release of the Ukrainian presidency press office, President Zelensky confirmed that a deal had been reached to resolve the issue of mass denial of Ukrainians crossing the Israeli border.
“Recently, our countries have been actively cooperating in the field of migration. I am speaking of numerous denials of entering Israel to Ukrainian citizens. We have agreed to finally resolve this issue,” Zelensky said.
He also said that passport holders of Ukraine and Israel should fully use the benefits of the visa-free regime between the two countries.
“Citizens of both countries should fully use the benefits of the visa-free regime. And there shouldn’t be delays of thousands of Ukrainian citizens on the Israeli border,” the President of Ukraine noted.
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.
The Israeli authorities say that entry denials happen as many citizens of ex-USSR try to illegally immigrate to Israel.
Zelensky and his government are trying to facilitate traveling abroad for Ukrainians, ever since he became the president of Ukraine.
Only recently, Ukraine signed a permanent visa waiver deal with North Macedonia, which enables the citizens of the two countries to enter the other without the need of obtaining a visa first, and excludes the necessity of the yearly renewal of the agreement, as it has happened so far.
At the same time, Zelensky has been trying to make it easier for nationals of other countries to access Ukraine, in a bid to boost the number of tourists in the country. At the beginning of August, during a meeting dedicated to the development of medical tourism in the town of Truskavets, in the Lviv region of Ukraine, Zelensky suggested abolishing entry visas for several countries seeking medical treatment in Ukraine.