The Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs revealed during Tuesday’s meeting that 10% of public servants in Israel and 12% of police officers are new immigrants. Committee Chairman MK Avraham Neguise (Likud) emphasized that “the main reason for the temporary decline in the number of immigrants in the last year is the issue of employment. Therefore, bureaucracy must be removed, procedures should be simplified, and driving licenses from the country of origin should be recognized. The public service should lead this national mission.”
Neguise praised the first appointment of Ethiopian Israeli female judges and a judge who has immigrated from the Commonwealth of Independent States, but warned of the vast amount of new immigrants who are qualified for various occupations and are employed in maintenance and cleaning jobs.
According to Ron Tzur of the Civil Service Commission, “The figures show the opposite; that the doors of the civil service are actually open to immigrants, and every barrier which we have recognized in the past, was removed and relieved.”
Tzur continued and said, “35% of workers in the country are [employed within] the health system, and therefore it is impossible to ignore the big portion of immigrants in such a big part of the system.” He emphasized that 7,496 out of some 75,000 workers in Israel have made Aliyah in the last decade (10%), and 4,191 in the last five years.
MK Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beitenu), who initiated the discussion, said that wherever there is a lack of engineers, doctors and nurses in the work market – that is where immigrants are absorbed. But in many cases the immigrants struggle to be accepted to work, mainly in senior positions, although a long time has passed since their immigration, he added.
Esther Blum, a representative of an organization for absorbing French immigrants, said that, “New immigrants do not have a chance of being absorbed in Israel, even when they have qualifications from abroad. This is a loss for the State of Israel, because we are speaking of people who hold senior positions in their country of origin.”
Superintendent Rachel Siman Tov, deputy head of Israel Police’s recruiting department, said 12% of police officers – 3,262 people – are new immigrants. According to her, 166 Ethiopian Israelis have been recruited to the police force over the past two years, and today 613 police officers are Ethiopian.
Hagit Feldman, head of the Human Resources Department at the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigration Absorption, said that out of 500 workers in the office, 138 have made Aliyah in the last decade, but most of the workers have made Aliyah 15 years ago or more.