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Ukraine refugee crisis: Israeli minister to call on EU to share expertise with Israel on immigration

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Despite the fact that Israel is a small country it has absorbed over the last three years more than 100,000 new immigrants from around the world, says Pnina Tamano-Shata, Israeli Minister of Immigration Absorbtion who will address a conference in the European Parliament.

Israeli Minister of Immigration and Integration, Pnina Tamano-Shata, will urge the EU to cooperate with Israel in sharing their expertise in integrating new immigrants, when she will address a conference in the European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday.

‘’This is just one area in which Israel and the EU can and must develop strategic cooperation in the post-Corona world,’’ she will say.

Tamano-Shata, who was born in Wuzaba, a village located near the city of Gondar in northern Ethiopia, was herself  37 years ago, a little girl when her family immigrated to Israel during the evacuation of the Ethiopian Jews from Sudan nicknamed ‘Operation Moses’ in 1984.

‘’We arrived in the Sudanese refugee camps after a long and hard journey, together with many from the Ethiopian Jewish community. This was a very difficult time. Many died of disease. My family and I survived there for several months, until the Israel Defense Forces, together with the Mossad, came to rescue us and fly us to the Israel we always dreamed of.’’

The Israeli Minister  stresses that despite the fact that Israel is a small country it has  absorbed over the last three years more than 100,000 new immigrants from around the world.

Moreover, in the last four months since the war in Ukraine began, Israel has received over 45,000 refugees, about half of them Jews.

‘’From the moment it seemed that a Russian invasion of Ukraine was on the horizon, we launched a national emergency operation, both to provide  humanitarian assistance in Ukraine, and to prepare for immigration from areas affected by the war,’’ she said.

In the European Parliament, Pnina Tamano-Shata will also call for a new ‘’strategic alliance’’ to face common threats of climate change, cybersecurity, pandemics and terror.

But in order for this new EU-Israel alliance to truly succeed, she will emphasize that it must be built not only on technology and trade, ‘’but on the shared moral stance that  there is never any justification for terror, and that incitement to terror and violence, as we sadly continue to see in the Palestinian Authority, must never be excused. ‘’

She also insists that the EU ”has the responsibility to take all necessary steps to counter all forms of antisemitism , whether from the far right or from the far left, where it is often disguised as anti-Zionism.”

Tuesday’s conference in the European Parliament titled ‘’Humanitarian crisis in Ukraine : current EU efforts and the Israeli experience, is hosted by the chairman of the European Parliament delegation for relations with Israel, MEP Antonio López-Istúriz White and vice-chairman MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen, in association with  the European Jewish Association. Keynote speakers will also include European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi. The Head of Mission of Ukraine to the EU Ambassador Vsovolod Chentso and Deputy Head of Mission of Israel to the EU & NATO Mr Walid Abu-Haya, will also participate.

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