(photo credit: Courtesy)
In its 35 years of existence, the Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee never had a chairman who emigrated from Ethiopia – until Monday night, when MK Abraham Naguise (Likud) was elected to the position.
Four ministers from the Likud – Immigration and Absorption Minister Ze’ev Elkin, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Science and Technology Minister Danny Danon and Tourism Minister Yariv Levin – attended Naguise’s inaugural meeting, which is not a usual occurrence.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said the ministers’ attendance shows how important the committee is to many people.
Transportation Minister Israel Katz, with whom Naguise’s is thought to be aligned in the Likud’s internal politics, did not attend.
Naguise went straight to the celebratory meeting from Ben-Gurion Airport, after returning from the Salute to Israel Parade in New York and meeting with Jewish-American community leaders.
“It is an important mission of the country and the new government to strengthen our connection with Jewish communities abroad,” he said.
Naguise said he will focus on encouraging aliya, solving immigrants’ problems and integrating immigrants into society.
Edelstein said that his first visit to the Knesset was to appear before the committee to talk about prisoners of Zion from the Soviet Union, after he himself was released from a Soviet prison and made aliya.
“Avraham Naguise is a hardworking person who will help thousands of new immigrants make their dreams come true, like he did himself,” the speaker said.
Elkin said his first activities as an MK were in the committee, and that Naguise was already an active advocate for immigrants from Ethiopia at that time.