Kyiv, Jerusalem spar over deportation of Ukrainians from Israel
The Ben Gurion Airport. Photo: EPA

Israeli ambassador to Ukraine Michael Brodsky says that most decisions on the deportation of Ukrainians arriving at Ben Gurion Airport are legitimate, although his Ukrainian counterpart Yevhen Korniychuk disagrees.

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The row intensified earlier this month when the Ukrainian embassy threatened to suspend visa-free travel and prevent Hasidim from entering Uman, a city in central Ukraine that carries a significant meaning for the adherents of Hasidism.

In an interview with, Messrs Brodsky and Korniychuk spoke about the issue with deportations and treatment of Ukrainians arriving in Israel.

There are just over five percent of Ukrainians that are denied entry to Israel, Mr Brodsky said, adding this is due to the fact that some of those who come to Israel from Ukraine intend to work illegally in Israel or engage in illegal activities.

"This also applies to citizens of other countries from which people come to Israel for the same purpose. I won't name them, but these are several countries, including post-Soviet ones, where the percentage of refusals is quite high," the Israeli diplomat told

"We see from which countries people come to work here illegally, and, accordingly, we are more demanding and check them more thoroughly."

This does not mean that Israeli border guards do not make mistakes, Mr Brodsky admits.

"Unfortunately, there are cases of unlawful refusals, but most refusals are absolutely legal."

Ukraine’s ambassador to Israel Yevhen Korniychuk. however, said that the deportation rate actually reaches 10 percent, while the conventional norm is up to three percent.

Ukrainian diplomats have ensured that Ukrainians have the right to work legally in certain areas after staying in Israel for 90 days, Mr Korniychuk told

"Those are the restaurant and hotel business, elderly care, etc. I don't understand how one can be accused of intending to work illegally if the [Israeli] government officially grants the right to work to this category of citizens."