In the wake of a recent Jerusalem Post report that the Immigrant Absorption Ministry was reneging on promises to pay for the professional retraining of olim and returning Israelis, the ministry promised last week it would correct the problem and deliver the missing funds, estimated at some NIS 30 million, to eligible Israelis.
The retraining courses of some 4,000 olim and returning expats are thought to be affected by the financial shortfall.
The Absorption Ministry is in negotiations with the Finance Ministry over new funding to cover the retraining, saying that the present shortage is the result of government-wide budget cuts. The negotiations would conclude with the Absorption Ministry gaining the funds needed to pay for the program, a ministry official promised.
The shortage comes despite NIS 70m. promised to the ministry in the coalition agreement that formed the current government earlier this year, and despite the recent cutting of the ministry's "returning Israelis" program.
Asked what happened to these extra funds, ministry officials said the budgets promised in the coalition agreement were frozen and unavailable while the government considered scaling them back. The program for returning expats had ended according to a schedule developed when it was founded last year. No additional funds were forthcoming to reopen the program.
The Finance Ministry refused to comment on the details of the case, saying only that the two ministries were in "negotiations on a range of requests from the [Immigrant Absorption] Ministry."