At least 3,000 Israelis, most of them citing a fear of spousal abuse and Palestinian violence, have requested asylum in Canada since 2000, recent reports out of Israel said.
Two major newspapers in Israel said that Canada has already granted refugee status to hundreds of Israelis, but thousands of others have filed applications.
The reports, from the Yediot Ahronot and Maariv newspapers, both quoted figures from the Israeli Foreign Ministry that show at least 3,000 Israelis filed applications seeking asylum in Canada. Maariv said that upwards of 500 of the applications had been approved in the last six years.
Yediot quoted the Israeli Ambassador to Canada, Alan Baker, as saying many of the applications Canadian officials were seeing were in fact bogus and that they were "harming Israel's image and representing it as a country whose citizens are persecuted."
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said the department was aware of the number of Israelis seeking asylum in Canada, and said "we have taken the matter up with the Canadians," but he did not elaborate.
The Canadian embassy in Tel Aviv said it did not have the data, and referred inquiries to the government in Ottawa.