Israeli Twitter Users Outraged by Ukrainian Envoy's 'Impudence' Over His Lawsuit

© REUTERS / CORINNA KERNThe Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk addresses members of the media at a news conference, amid Russia's special military operation of Ukraine, at the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Tel Aviv, Israel, March 11, 2022.
The Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk addresses members of the media at a news conference, amid Russia's special military operation of Ukraine, at the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Tel Aviv, Israel, March 11, 2022.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.03.2022
After Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked set up a limit of 5,000 refugees, Yevgen Korniychuk appealed to the country's High Court of Justice to annul her decision. In a letter, he wrote that Shaked's decision contradicted earlier Israel-Ukraine agreements on visa exemptions between the two states.
Israel continues to receive a flow of Ukrainian refugees, as Russia's military operation in Ukraine enters its 18th day.
So far, more than 4,000 Ukrainians have already arrived at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv. Thousands of others are still on the way.

Refugees Not Welcome?

The flow of refugees, most of whom are non-Jewish, presents a problem for Israel that grants citizenship to people of Jewish heritage only. This is why, in a bid to stem that stream, the country's Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked has already set up a limit of 5,000 people that the state would be willing to take in.
She also agreed to allow 20,000 of those who have already landed in the country to remain in Israel until the hostilities in the Ukraine subside.
That policy has sparked anger among Israel's liberal circles, who were outraged by the images of Ukrainian children and women lying on the floor of the airport.
On Saturday evening, scores of protesters gathered in front of Shaked's residence in central Israel. Demonstrators called her "evil" and a "fascist". They urged her to "wake up" and allow more refugees in.

Ambassador Against the State

But Shaked's headache didn't stop end there. On Saturday, it was reported that Yevgen Korniychuk, the Ukrainian ambassador to Israel, had filed a lawsuit against the minister with the country's High Court of Justice.

In his appeal, Korniychuk wrote: "the new policy of the Ministry of the Interior violates agreements regarding the exemption from visas for Ukrainian citizens. In light of all the diplomatic possibilities, the embassy has no other choice but to ask [a local] law firm to file a petition with the High Court against the new outline in order to protect the rights of Ukrainian citizens".

The article that featured the Ukrainian ambassador's appeal has since gone viral, but many Israelis didn't appreciate the diplomat's "audacity".
"The Ukrainian ambassador submits a petition against the State of Israel, the country that hosts him? Impudence, horror.. it cannot be forgiven", wrote one netizen.
"You can already tell the ambassador that he can go straight home", wrote another.

Going Too Far?

This is not the first time that Korniychuk has spoken out against Israel. At the beginning of March, he sparked outrage after he accused the Israeli national airline EL AL of "making money soaked in Ukrainian blood", alleging that the company was accepting Russia's MIR cards, an equivalent of Visa and Mastercard.
EL AL rebuffed these allegations, and the ambassador rushed to apologise for jumping to conclusions but the damage his statements dealt to his reputation was irreversible.
For Israeli social media users, his recent move was just a step too far.

"The previous time that same ambassador slandered our EL AL. Then he was reprimanded and was forced to apologise. Now he went to the High Court knowing it has [a bunch of] delusional anti-Semites, who would listen to him. Not that I'm in favour of the rogue Ayelet, but isn't it time to oust this ambassador and close down the Ukrainian Embassy?" lamented a user.

Another person wrote: "We need to expel him. Russia has always supported Israel. The Ukrainians have always murdered Jews and they will keep on doing so".
"Send him to hell, immediately", a third penned.
Yet, despite the outrage, the diplomat's efforts, coupled with the actions of some liberal circles, have borne fruit. Shaked is expected to expand the quota of Ukrainian refugees in the next several days, but the question that begs to be answered is whether the largely conservative Israeli public will be able to swallow it.
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