Moscow, August 17, Interfax -The leadership of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (FJCR) has associated an increasing number of repatriates to Israel with people's wish for visa-free travel rather than their relocation.
"We believe that the fact that a number of people repatriating from Russia to Israel has increased in the past few years is caused by a wish to obtain Israeli citizenship and the country's passport allowing to travel without a visa to almost any part of the world rather than actual relocation of people," FJCR President Alexander Boroda told Interfax-Religion, commenting on words of Israeli Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Minister Ze'ev Elkin that Russia reached the first place among the top three countries leading as a source of repatriates to Israel in the past year.
"People in Russia are more mobile today, there are more opportunities for travelling, and certainly Russian citizens subject to the Law on Return try not to miss opportunities to obtain a second nationality for these purposes," Boroda said.
In addition, the Israeli government has recently began issuing the full-fledged Darkon passport, instead of a temporary one as before, to all new repatriates, and it sparked Russians' interest in obtaining a second nationality even more, he said.
As of those who had actually relocated or, vice versa, came back, it is very difficult to name the exact number, Boroda said. People can leave for studying or internship for a year or several years, medical tourism to Israel, providing for people going to country for a long time to improve their health, but often return afterwards, is also well-developed, he said.
"We see in the Moscow Jewish community as well that the number of 'Israelis,' who returned from emigration from the Soviet Union, or their children, is increasing," he said.
He recalled that one is allowed to hold multiple passports both in Russia and Israel, people immigrating are not stripped of citizenship of their home country, therefore, it is virtually impossible to count the number of those leaving and those returning.
"Apart from that, any country can be only temporary place of residence, and then a person goes to third country," Boroda said.