The issue of suspension of visa-free travel with Israel should be taken at the highest level. There are several arguments in favor of such a decision, told for material LIGA.net about the problems of Ukrainian-Israeli relations Ambassador of Ukraine to Israel Evgeny Korniychuk.
In the fall, despite security warnings, 23,000 Hasidic pilgrims arrived in Uman, the ambassador said. This year, even more are expected – and at a recent meeting of Ukrainian ambassadors in Uzhgorod, a possible suspension of tourist visa-free travel with Israel was discussed in order to bring the situation under control.
There are several arguments in favor of such a decision:
1. Security. Last year, the Russians shelled Uman on the eve and after Rosh Hashanah. The ambassador does not rule out that the Russians may launch rockets at a crowd of people in order to later blame the Ukrainians.
“We voiced the following position: Israel has repeatedly refused to sell air defense to protect Ukrainian civilians – but it may want to protect its pilgrims. This position was well received in the Israeli press. But we received no answer,” the diplomat explains.
2. Dispersion of forces in war conditions. To ensure order during the pilgrimage, significant forces of the police, border guards, and rescuers will have to be diverted, the ambassador said. In addition, Israel stopped sending its police to help during the war.
3. Legislative prohibitions. Under martial law in Ukraine, mass gatherings are prohibited.
4. Diplomatic reciprocity. According to the ambassador, Israel began to deport Ukrainians from airports many times more often.
The decision to suspend tourist visa-free travel should not even be taken by the Foreign Ministry, Korniychuk adds. And the top political leadership is at the government level.
Israeli diplomats in conversation with LIGA.net call the subject of visa-free travel “another, deliberately failed attempt to put pressure on Israel before the pilgrimage to Uman.” They are confident that Ukraine will not abolish the visa-free regime: “We need to solve existing problems, not create new ones.”
Read more in the material: My friend, my enemy. How and why Israel destroys relations with Ukraine
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