Olmert Assad 298.88.
(photo credit: AP [archive])
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has canceled all planned cuts to the Immigrant Absorption Ministry in the upcoming 2008 state budget after weeks of campaigning by Immigrant Absorption Minister Yaacov Edri, a handful of olim MKs and olim organizations, during which various proposed cuts were canceled one after the other.
The Immigrant Absorption Ministry also announced on Wednesday that its budget of more than NIS 1 billion budget would be increased in 2008 by some NIS 40 million for "strengthening absorption programs."
The planned cuts had included a Finance Ministry plan to dismantle the NIS 90m. KAMEA program, which funds academic positions for 500 immigrant scientists; a proposal to tighten requirements for olim to obtain cheap public housing - making their entry requirements to the program equal to those of veteran Israelis; and planned cuts to the appliance grants of some NIS 3,000-NIS 5,000 for olim from impoverished countries for the purchase of basic appliances.
An early proposal to cut some 20% of the absorption stipend each new oleh receives also was removed from the budget at the beginning of the budget negotiations, the ministry said.
The Finance Ministry has denied that most of these proposed cuts were ever part of the budget, but said they constituted discussions that are conducted each year as the government budget is reassessed.