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Unprecedented number of Israelis seek European passports, immigration visas: Report

Passengers wait at the entrance to the departure hall at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv.

European embassies in Tel Aviv have recorded an unprecedented increase in the number of Israelis applying for a passport or an immigration visa in recent months.

Israel's Ynetnews website reported on Wednesday that the diplomatic missions of France, the Netherlands, Romania, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Italy, and the Baltic states have all witnessed a significant surge in Israeli requests for foreign passports.

“Some link it to the judicial overhaul legislation, while others believe the reason to be the high cost of living," a European envoy said.

"There are more and more Israeli families requesting passports, queues have been growing to numbers we haven’t seen before. We feel like this has become a phenomenon."

The Spanish embassy confirmed that over the past three years, there has been a rise in applications for passports, as well as relocation and digital nomad visas that allow Israelis to live and work in the European country.

"There’s an increase in the number of passport requests, but we aren’t aware of the motivation behind this," the French embassy in Tel Aviv said.

Recently, Lebanon’s Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said that the Israeli occupation’s weak internal front is facing an "ideological retreat,” which is driving settlers to pack their bags and leave the occupied Palestinian lands.

A survey by Israel’s Channel 13 found last month that 28 percent of Israelis are considering leaving the occupied territories.

Over half of the survey’s respondents — 54 percent — said they feared the controversial scheme was harming the regime’s security, and 56 percent were worried about civil war.

The poll reflected the impact of policies adopted by the extremist cabinet of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, among them the so-called judicial overhaul plan that has sparked mass protests.

Last week, the Israeli immigration encouragement organization Nefesh B'Nefesh reported a significant drop in immigration to the occupied territories from North America, particularly among young people.

"Israeli attractions are dimmed due to internal disputes, and there is a slowdown in migration," it said. "There is talk of instability in Israel, more people are telling us that they are not interested in migrating.”

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