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September 29, 2016 / 26 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘aliyah’

20% Drop in Aliyah Numbers Blamed on Late Budget Allocations

Monday, June 6th, 2016

More than 30,000 people immigrated to Israel last year, but the first six months of 2016 have seen a 20% decline in the number of new immigrants, according to a report revealed during Monday’s meeting of the Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs. At this point it is believed that the decline is due to absorption problems related to insufficient budgets, as well as the emergence of immigration destinations that are more appealing than Israel.

“Last year’s wave of Aliyah has come to a halt due to lack of coordination, clumsiness and negligence,” Committee Chairman MK Avraham Neguise (Likud) said during the special meeting on the preparations of local authorities and government ministries to absorb immigrants.

“A window of opportunity has opened for us, and it is our duty to take advantage of it and not have any regrets once it closes,” Neguise added. He called on the Interior Ministry to update the list of Israeli cities which are eligible for benefits for the absorption of immigrants. He suggested the list had not been updated in decades.

The Finance Ministry’s representative at the meeting said both the Finance and Interior ministries are currently holding negotiations regarding the status of immigrant cities. She said the Knesset Finance Committee, not the Finance Ministry, was to blame for the delay in the allocation of government funds to the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption. Haviv Katzav, the Ministry’s Director General, warned that numerous plans may be put on hold due to the delay in the transfer of funds.

Avi Ben-Hamo, Director General of the Netanya Municipality, said 67,000 immigrants live in the city, which has a total population of 235,000. “Our city has the highest concentration of immigrants from Ethiopia, in addition to many immigrants from France and the Commonwealth of Independent States,” he said, adding that in 2015 Netanya absorbed the third largest number of immigrants, yet it is still not categorized as an “immigrant city.”

“[Neighboring] Ramat Hasharon continues to be defined as an immigrant city despite the fact that not even one immigrant has settled there in years,” Ben-Hamo said. “In protest, our services for olim will be not be available in the next few months due to insufficient funding from the government.”

MK Mordhay Yogev (HaBayit HaYehudi) argued that this year’s drop in immigration to Israel stems solely from absorption problems. He called on the Prime Minister’s Office to make certain that medical degrees obtained abroad are recognized in Israel and that lone soldiers are cared for. Yogev also urged the government to redefine immigrant cities.

Yehuda Scharf, Director of Aliyah and Absorption at the Jewish Agency, warned that without proper government funding the situation would become worse. “Currently, French nationals who are looking to emigrate have many options, so if we do not offer them at least what other countries are offering – we’ll be facing stiff competition,” he said.

JNi.Media

Newest Israelis Do Independence Day the Israeli Way

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

By Michael Zeff/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – As Israel marks its 68th Independence Day, millions of citizens take to the streets and squares of the country to attend parties, street dancing, barbecues, or concerts open to the public. While some of them celebrate the country’s independence for the 68th time, among the joyful multitudes of Israelis are the newest citizens, recent immigrants known in Hebrew as olim.

Many of these new Israelis expressed amazement at how the day is celebrated in Israel in contrast with their native countries.

“In France people don’t care about their Independance Day, but here everyone takes out their Israeli flags and people are proud. It’s a real celebration,” Deborah Bertrand, a 20-year-old from the French Riviera city of Nice, told Tazpit Press Service (TPS).

Bertrand immigrated to Israel a year ago and is now serving in the IDF. “I feel enormous pride to be in the Israeli army,” she said.

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, 36,000 olim arrived in Israel since last Independence Day. In 2015, 7,900 French Jews immigrated to Israel, against the backdrop of a wave of anti-Semitic attacks in the country. The second largest group of olim came from the Ukraine with almost 7,000 people.

Dimitri Arutiunov, a 24-year-old immigrant from war-ravaged Ukraine, described the difference between his previous Ukranian Independence Days and the one in Israel.

“The most obvious difference to me is the fact that in Israel Independence Day is celebrated only after a Memorial Day is observed,” he told TPS.

“Before celebrating the nation’s independence, the country honors those who are responsible for it. It’s unique,” Arutiunov explained. “In the Ukraine and Russia, people don’t even know who is fighting for their country and who dies.”

Nina Rabinowitz, a 29-year old from New Jersey, immigrated to Israel just a few months ago and also noticed a distinct difference in the local Independence Day spirit.

“In the U.S. it feels like a duty or a requirement, but here in Israel it’s just cool that the whole country is celebrating,” Rabinowitz told TPS. “It feels much more like a holiday.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Nearly 1,000 French Jews Await Hollande Address on Anti-Semitism

Monday, March 7th, 2016

A crowd of nearly 1,000 is slated to attend the largest “Republican” Jewish event in France Monday night, where President Francois Hollande is to deliver remarks on anti-Semitism and French Jewry.

The country’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls and top government officials will also attend the 31st annual dinner of CRIF (Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France).

At least 800 people have reserved seats for the dinner, which takes place every year and is considered the event of the season.

Leaders of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) will also attend the event, which they shunned last year. “With the new head of CFCM Anwar Kbibech, we really feel things have changed,” CRIF President Roger Cukierman,79, told the European Jewish Press.

He noted that the gathering is a forum “where we can express our feelings and concerns.” As in the past, the rising level of anti-Semitism in France will be a main topic of discussion.

“Anti-Semitic acts continue, the 2015 figures are virtually at the same level as in 2014,” said Cukierman, who ends his third mandate in May.

This will be the 79-year-old leader’s last dinner as head of the CRIF.

“Once again, Jews, who represent less than 1% of the total population, are targets of40% of racist acts committed in France and 49% of racist violence to people,” the CRIF said in its annual report. Figures show there were 808 incidents in 2015, as compared with 851 incidents in 2014, according to the Security Department of the Jewish Community (SPCJ).

France is home to the world’s third largest Jewish community, with a population between 500,000 to 600,000 Jews.

In 2015, a record 7,900 French Jews emigrated to Israel following vicious anti-Semitic terrorist attacks in the country despite the Paris government’s 100-million euro plan to strengthen protection around 700 synagogues, schools and community centers.

Hana Levi Julian

Ukrainian Jews Flee To Israel Amid Anti-Semitic Attacks in War-Torn Ukraine

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

By Alexander J. Apfel/TPS

Over 100 Ukrainian Jews fled war-torn Ukraine and arrived in Israel on Tuesday, February 23. Many Ukrainian Jews have been leaving their country of birth due to violence and frequent anti-Semitic attacks. They were assisted by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), which has been spearheading a project of bringing Jews to Israel from countries engulfed by war.

Sisters Marina and Alexandra Prokopovych, aged 17 and 15 respectively, were among the new immigrants who arrived in Israel. They had lived in the small suburb of Rakytne. Both were severely beaten at their high school in what began as a nationalistically-motivated attack, but which spilled over into overt anti-Semitism.

IFCJ Director of Communications Tali Aronsky told Tazpit Press Service (TPS) that the girls were called “separatists” and “Zhids” [Jews] prior to the assault because they spoke Russian instead of Ukrainian.

“The girls sustained serious injuries as a result. One suffered concussions and had to get stitches. Even the teachers joined in the beating. The father remembers similar things that happened when he was younger, but he decided that it was time to leave when it happened to his daughters,” she said.

Dmytro Prokopovych, the girls’ father, also remembers that he had switched schools three times due to his ethnicity. He himself suffered fourteen concussions from similar attacks during his childhood and he maintains that anti-Semitism is still very prevalent in post-Soviet Ukraine.

“I recently discovered that my family’s real surname is Evenbach and not Prokopovych. It was my grandfather’s surname. My father would not be admitted to university with this surname in Soviet times so he changed it to his mother’s maiden name,” Dmytro recalls.

IFCJ founder Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein decided that efforts to rescue Jews in countries with prevailing anti-Semitism were insufficient. The IFCJ then began actively searching for Jews suffering in countries affected by war. Many of the immigrants receive additional funds since they were forced to leave behind homes that have become essentially worthless due to the conflicts.

“We don’t wait for the Ukrainians to call us up. We go to them and we also give them more support. We offer them $1,000 per family and $500 for every child in addition to what they get from the government,” Aronsky told TPS.

The new immigrants will be given guidance and career advice. Aronsky said that the organization has also reached out to other countries such as Venezuela, Uruguay, Turkey, and even several Arab countries and has managed to bring some 2,355 Jews to Israel. Aronsky was unable to divulge the identities of the Arab countries due to security concerns for the Jews involved.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Israeli Government Pledges To Invest Over One Million Shekels in Encouraging Brazilian Aliyah

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

By Alexander J. Apfel/TPS

The Israeli government has committed to investing more than NIS 1 million in boosting efforts to encourage Jews from Brazil to move to Israel. Only 191 Brazilian Jews moved to Israel last year while 750 of them are expected to arrive by the end of 2016. Brazilian Olim form the seventh largest group of immigrants to Israel.

The Knesset Committee for Aliyah and Absorption announced on Monday evening, February 22 that NIS 1,180,000 will be spent on a variety of programs and initiatives aimed at addressing common problems that Brazilians face after having immigrated to Israel.

The money will also go towards increasing the number of Jewish Agency representatives in Brazil to encourage aliyah, provide preparatory aliyah seminars, and to finding full-time employment for new immigrants prior to their move to Israel.

Additional emphasis will also be placed on preparing prospective students for the psychometric exams required by universities and on increasing the number of Hebrew courses in Brazil.

Committee Chairman and Likud MK Avraham Naguisa called for the improvement of the absorption of Brazilian Jews by increasing the number of Portuguese speakers available to guide them and assist them once they move to Israel.

Gladys Berezowsky, manager of the Beit Brasil [Brazil House] organization, highlighted the lack of availability of letters translated to Portuguese from the absorption centers. Berezowsky said that dozens of applications are received daily from people who are interested in making aliyah of whom the vast majority only speak Portuguese.

Bruna Drazin, who moved to Israel in 2011 from northern Brazil, told Tazpit Press Service (TPS) that while she already spoke English, many Brazilians struggle upon their arrival in Israel due to the language barrier.

“Everything can be hard. Almost all the websites you have are in English and Hebrew and sometimes Spanish, but never Portuguese. Some people think that Spanish is the same, but it really is not. There are many people from Brazil who cannot even read Spanish,” Drazin said.

“It can really be a problem when you come here because you do not have any support here in Portuguese,” she added.

Zionist Federation representative Oded Foyer said that around fifteen Hebrew language classes will be opened while more teachers will be trained.

“Hebrew was a problem for me when I came to Israel. I never thought about creating more Hebrew language classes in Brazil, but it could be a good idea. You leave your profession when you move here and you don’t have the language at all,” Drazin told TPS.

Foyer said that the efforts to encourage aliyah will not be restricted to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, but will be made in rural areas as well.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

17-Year-Old Stabbed in Terrorist Attack Just Made Aliyah From Brooklyn

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

As the JewishPress.com reported earlier, just about at the close of Shabbat in Israel, two Arab terrorists stabbed a 17-year-old Israeli as he and a friend were leaving the Kotel after evening prayers.

It is now known that the Israeli victim was a student at Magen Shaul Nokdim, a pre-army mechina, and had become an Israeli citizen just one month ago. The young man was listed in fair to good condition when he was taken to Hadassah Medical Center’s Mount Scopus campus.

The victim’s name had not yet been released as his family, back in Brooklyn, were still observing Shabbat.

The 17-year-old said that despite having been the victim of a terrorist stabbing, he would not be deterred from his plan to join the IDF.

According to Walla, the stabbing victim was able to speak about the attack from his medical bed: “I did not see him [the stabber], he came from behind and stabbed. There were two stabbers, they were young.”

He also said that that he was unafraid, and that “now I’m enlisting in the army and I will give everything.” He hopes to join an elite unit in the Israeli Defense Forces. “God willing, I want to join the Sayeret Matkal,” he said.

As reported earlier, two Arab teenagers, both minors, have been taken into custody for interrogation relating to this terrorist attack.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Large Majority of Israelis Support More Benefits to New Immigrants

Sunday, January 24th, 2016

A vast majority of Israelis endorse the idea of offering new immigrants more economic and employment benefits — even at the expense of native Israelis.

The surprising information was revealed in a survey conducted by the Sampling, Consultation and Research Center, whose results were revealed Sunday at the weekly government cabinet meeting.

The news comes in light of an alarming wave of anti-Semitism that has struck Europe.

A whopping majority of 83 percent of Israelis in the survey expressed their belief that the State of Israel should take actions in the labor market that would grant special privileges to new immigrants.

Fifty-three percent of the survey’s respondents suggested that Israel provide financial benefits to employers who hire new immigrants.

Thirty percent recommended even requiring public agencies and large private business to set a floor benchmark of employment positions for new immigrants, even though such a policy would come at the expense of the native Israeli labor force.

Two- thirds of Israelis are concerned for the safety of Jews in the Diaspora, according to the survey.

Thirty-nine percent of Israelis believe that European Jews should escape the growing anti-Semitism in Europe by immigrating to the Jewish homeland.

Yaakov Hagoel, Deputy Chairman of the World Zionist Organization revealed the results of the survey at Sunday’s cabinet meeting.

“In light of the concern for the safety of the Jews of Europe, we have established a committee to deal with immigration barriers and we asked to check the position of the Israeli public in this regard,” Hagoel explained.

At the same time, 46 percent of Israelis recognize that many Jews in Europe continue to live there for social and economic reasons.

“The results are surprising, even to us,” commented Hagoel. “Despite the difficult economic situation in Israel, the Jews are brothers to each other in every place in the world.”

Hagoel was expected to discuss the need to reduce and remove the many barriers that new immigrants often experience in the employment sector.

Many new immigrants arrive in Israel as educated professionals with experience and potential to contribute to Israel but encounter bureaucratic hurdles. They are very often not recognized in their professional field. Professionals such as attorneys and doctors with certifications from abroad are not automatically recognized in Israel, but must instead go through a convoluted process to re-earn certification in Israel.

Hagoel was to present the establishment of a group of World Zionist Organization staff members who will work on removing the unnecessary barriers faced by new immigrants.

“There is no day more fitting than International Holocaust Memorial Day to raise this important issue to the cabinet,” Hagoel said.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/large-majority-of-israelis-support-more-benefits-to-new-immigrants/2016/01/24/

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