Dozens of Israelis stranded in Russia

Dozens of Israelis stranded at passport control in Moscow airport. 'Over 5,700 Russian tourists refused entry to Israel,' Russia's FM says.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

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Dozens of Israeli tourists have been stranded at passport control in a Moscow, Russia, airport for several hours, after they disembarked from an El Al flight arriving from Israel.

A response from Russia's Embassy in Israel showed that the move is possibly a response to the fact that Israel prevented Russian citizens from entering its territory.

"According to the information we have, until December 1, 5,771 Russian tourists were not allowed to enter Israel," the Embassy said. "In October this year alone, 568 Russian tourists were refused entry into Israel, and in November 569 Russian tourists [were refused entry]. Each day, 20 tourists who arrive in Israel with money and an organized tour are detained and sent back to Russia."

Israel's Foreign Ministry responded that it is "investigating the issue with the Russian Foreign Ministry, and working in order to allow Israeli tourists and businessmen to be able to continue and enter Russia, as it was until now. This is especially [true] since it is clear that both countries have a shared interest in encouraging mutual tourism and bilateral business connections."

According to News 12, the incident follows a similar incident earlier this week, in which eight Israelis were detained after disembarking in Moscow. In that incident, the detainees were representatives of large and well-known Israeli companies.

After they were taken to a small room at the airport, they were held there overnight, for twelve hours. When they inquired as to the reason, the answer given was that they did not have work permits for Russia. However, that group regularly travels to Moscow and was never asked to present a special work permit.

The next morning, the group was brought by Russian security personnel to a plane which took them to Israel.

Israel's Foreign Ministry responded: "The Foreign Ministry is in constant contact with Russian authorities regarding consular issues, including guidelines for the entry of tourists and businesspeople. In recent years, there has been a consistent rise in the number of visits to Israel and Russia, which currently stands at approximately half a million tourists from each side."

"We are investigating the issue of the recent refusals of entry and whether they reflect a change in the entry policies of the country. Our goal is to allow Israeli tourists and businesspeople to enter Russia as they have until now, especially since both countries have an interest in encouraging tourism and bilateral business connections."




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