Israelis Delayed at Moscow Airport; Russia Says Israel Denied Entry to Thousands

Dozens of Israeli tourists and businessmen were delayed for several hours at Moscow airport's passport control on Wednesday, prompting Israel's Foreign Ministry to announce it was looking into the matter.

All of those delayed at the airport were let into the country by Wednesday afternoon.

An Israeli delegation is expected to arrive in Russia on Thursday for "consular consultations," which were scheduled in advance. Jerusalem believes that the detention of Israeli tourists at the Moscow airport is Russia's way to convey a message to Israel ahead of the talks.     

Russian authorities have complained to Israel recently over the treatment of Russian tourists at Ben-Gurion Airport. A Russian source told Haaretz the issue was "troubling," adding that Russian citizens miss out on their vacations despite visa agreements between the two countries.

In 2019, Israel denied entry to thousands of Russian citizens. The Russian Embassy in Israel said that over 5,700 tourists were barred entry by Israel this year, with Israeli authorities reporting similar numbers. 

"Every day, about 20 tourists who come to Israel with money and an organized tour are being sent back to Russia," the embassy told Haaretz.

According to Israel's Population and Immigration Authority, in 2018 over 2,000 Russian nationals were detained at Ben Gurion Airport's detention facility, including dozens of minors.