Aliya groups welcome Eitan's 'citizens' portfolio

Bureaucracy can often blight a new immigrant's experience in Israel, says employee from organization that assists South African olim.

By MEL BEZALEL
March 30, 2009 21:17
1 minute read.
Minister without Portfolio Michael Eitan.

michael eitan wikipedia 248.88. (photo credit: Eranb)

 
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Although incoming Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been criticized for creating a big government with new cabinet portfolios, his appointment of Michael Eitan as minister without portfolio in charge of improving services for citizens, computerization and the Internet is being welcomed by aliya organizations. Bureaucracy can often blight a new immigrant's experience in Israel, said Dorron Kline, who works for Telfed - an organization that assists South African immigrants. Kline commented: "We always tell new immigrants it's easier to make aliya from your own country, it makes the process much smoother. Issues such as police clearance are very complex. You have to go to the embassy during the special hours they're open and they need to send a request to South Africa. It takes a long time to get clearance here. "We also deal with immigrants who are not in the main areas of Israel - in the Galilee for example - where clerks at the absorption office can't communicate with them in English. "Any position that takes upon itself making the process smoother has our blessing. If Eitan wants to know what he needs to fix, apart from talking to his staff members who will probably tell him everything is fine, I would like to see him call in the aliya organizations. because we're the ones who deal with the bureaucratic problems that immigrants have day to day. Each has different bureaucratic hurdles - there isn't one formula that applies." Josie Arbel, the director of absorption services at the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel, said that the bureaucracy facing new immigrants in Israel can be overwhelming. "The issue for olim is that they have to deal with so much at once. They have to navigate between different departments for example, so a minister acting in an interdisciplinary capacity is a good idea. "

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