Cuts to ‘community absorption’ won't affect Nefesh B’Nefesh

Aliya organization will continue helping olim despite gov't scrapping of “Klita Kehilatit” program, spokeswoman says.

March 9, 2010 23:26
1 minute read.
Cuts to ‘community absorption’ won't affect Nefesh B’Nefesh

nefesh olim cool 298.175. (photo credit: Sasson Tiram)

An Immigrant Absorption Ministry decision to scrap the popular “Klita Kehilatit” (community absorption) program for English-speaking immigrants in all locations except Jerusalem will have little impact on the services currently provided by aliya organization Nefesh B’nefesh, a spokeswoman for the organization told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday.

“It’s always a shame to see budgets cut on programs for new immigrants,” commented the spokeswoman, Yael Katzman. “We feel that aliya should always be at the top of the agenda and that funding for projects should be increased and not cut, but our programs will not be affected by this latest decision and will continue operating as usual.”

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Katzman said that while the organization was primarily focused on assisting individuals before their arrival in Israel, it also had a “dedicated social services department to help people find jobs and communities to live in, both before they arrive and afterward.”

“We offer new immigrants a lot of help,” she said.

A spokesman for the Immigrant Absorption Ministry confirmed to the Post that the Klita Kehilatit program, which currently operates in Haifa, Modi’in, Efrat, Ariel, Ma’aleh Adumim, Ra’anana and Jerusalem, would be discontinued everywhere except the capital.

He said that budget cuts imposed by the Finance Ministry meant that allocations for aliya from North America and Britain went primarily to Nefesh B’Nefesh, leaving little for implementing community absorption programs.

Run as a partnership with the Jewish Agency for Israel, Klita Kehilatit provides new immigrants with additional absorption assistance above and beyond the standard basket of services. In each location, a coordinator – usually a seasoned English-speaking immigrant – is responsible for providing the families with a “softer landing” upon their arrival. Close to 200 families currently participate in the program nationwide.

The ministry’s director-general, Dmitry Apartsev, told Haaretz last week that he was “currently looking for budgetary solutions” to save the program, but admitted, “I don’t have any.”

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