Daughter of US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman makes aliya .
(photo credit: SHAHAR AZRAN)
Immigrants to Israel from English-speaking countries have no unique needs and do not require any special assistance, the Aliya and Integration Ministry told the Knesset, according to a document revealed exclusively to The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
The Knesset Immigration, Absorption, and Diaspora Affairs Committee is set to hold a meeting on “Anglo immigrants” on Wednesday.
The Knesset’s research center asked the ministry for its policies for absorbing immigrants from English-speaking countries and for the assistance granted to them. According to the document, the ministry responded that Anglo immigrants receive the same help as others who move to Israel from around the world via organizations and local authorities.
“According to the ministry’s response, no special criteria were set for immigrants from English-speaking countries to support these bodies, even though the ministry thinks all populations of immigrants have unique characteristics connected to their language and culture and every population must be addressed in an evaluated manner,” the document said.
When the Knesset asked the ministry about special problems faced by English-speaking immigrants, the ministry chose not to respond. The committee’s chairman, Likud MK Avraham Neguise, criticized the ministry’s behavior and emphasized the necessity of the meeting he initiated to help Anglo immigrants.
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“This meeting with members of the English-speaking immigrant community is a very important one,” Neguise said. “There are challenges unique to them that must be addressed. Ensuring that English-speaking immigrants have a successful integration into society will only help to encourage more Jews from the Diaspora to make Israel their home.”
The MKs on the committee will be addressed by representatives of the Aliya and Integration Ministry, the Education Ministry, and the Labor and Social Services Ministry, as well as the Jewish Agency, immigrant assistance organizations, Yeshiva University in Israel, the South African Zionist Federation, the Zionist Organization of America, TLV Internationals, Keep Olim in Israel, and the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel.
The Education and Labor and Social Services ministries told the Knesset research center that they do not give immigrants from English speaking countries special treatment. Education Ministry representatives said they oppose giving English-speaking immigrants unique attention, because it could “increase inequality among children who moved to Israel from different countries.”
“The Education Ministry does not give special assistance to different groups of immigrants, and every immigrant pupil receives assistance according to his needs,” the document said. “The Education Ministry’s director-general issued directives that singled out no special needs for immigrants who speak English, but it did allocate special funds for pupils who came from other countries, who speak Russian, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Amharic.”
The ministry said it does not require its teachers and educational counselors to speak English.
“The English-speaking immigrant population is not homogeneous,” Pini Glinkevitz, the director of the Immigration and Absorption Authority in the Jerusalem Municipality, told the Knesset. “The immigrants belong to a variety of different streams of Judaism, which makes it difficult to integrate them in the education system.”