Government Earmarks NIS 32 Million to Promote Aliyah From FSU
by Yated Ne'eman Staff
The government has decided to spend NIS 32 million on a program to encourage aliyah from the former Soviet Union in response to a marked decline in the number of immigrants. Last year only 5,700 immigrants moved to Israel from the FSU, which has 900,000 people eligible for Israeli citizenship based on the Law of Return (a large portion of them are not halachically Jewish). In order to reverse the trend of declining immigration the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, the Jewish Agency and Netiv have joined forces to build a unique program to promote aliyah from these countries and facilitate integration.
The project, which will be implemented through the end of 2010, involves incentive packages of $5,000 for housing and employment. Seventy percent of the program funding is earmarked for housing assistance (one year's rent), 20 percent will go toward training, advanced studies and placement and 10 percent will be spent on acclimatization grants. Those eligible for the program are immigrants of working age who do not move to Israel through another Jewish Agency program.
Jewish Agency Director General Moshe Vigdor said during this difficult economic period in Israel and abroad, the Jewish Agency and the government are placing aliyah at the top of their agenda. "The Israeli economy definitely stands to benefit from realizing the program," he said after it was approved in a cabinet meeting. Immigrant Absorption Minister MK Eli Aflalo said, "Crisis periods can present opportunities. The Government of Israel has taken a historic step by deciding to create a renewed wave of immigration from the FSU for the first time since the 1990s."
According to Ministry Director General Erez Chalfon, "The decision reflects the position of the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, which sees a need to create economic incentives alongside additional programs to promote aliyah from various countries."