Israel Today reported Monday that the Jewish Agency is pulls funding for ulpanim – intensive Hebrew-language classes for immigrants – including classrooms and school supplies, potentially leaving thousands of new immigrants with nowhere to learn Hebrew upon arriving in Israel.
As of March 15, thousands of new immigrants to Israel will have to find new ways to learn Hebrew, as a sudden pullout of funds by the Jewish Agency will force the closure of dozens of ulpanim, schools for the intensive study of Hebrew.
The news was broken by an alarmed letter attained by Israel Hayom that was sent by Absorption Ministry Director Dimitri Apartsev to the heads of the Education Ministry, the Jewish Agency and the Prime Minister’s Office, as well as to the cabinet secretary. “As a result of the Jewish Agency’s unilateral announcement to cease funding the ulpanim for new immigrants, I must warn that starting March 15 ulpan activity will be halted,” Apartsev wrote. He claims that the Absorption Ministry had tried to discuss matters with the Jewish Agency, but that planned meetings had been delayed three times by the agency, and a new date had not been scheduled.