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The Ministry of Immigrant Absorption announced Wednesday that it has launched a new project to bring Russian and Ukrainian businessmen and entrepreneurs to Israel.
Those targeted include yordim, those who have made aliya and then left, as well as individuals still in the former Soviet Union who are eligible to make aliya under the Law of Return.
The ministry estimates that there are 30,000-40,000 Israeli citizens living in the FSU and another 500,000 Jews eligible to make aliya.
Many Jews from the region made aliya, accumulated business acumen, and then took their skills back to their native countries.
"We have to fight for the Israeli yordim, who are the third largest Jewish community in the world," Minister of Immigrant Absorption Ze'ev Boim said in a statement.
The ministry plans to invest some NIS 20 million in the project, which will include business loans, consulting, and education, as well as instituting a number of widespread reforms in areas such as business restriction, taxation, health insurance and compulsory military service.
The new project is preceded by the very successful Project IL, a similar effort launched in 2004 to coax North American and European yordim back to Israel.
In addition to promotional sessions to be held abroad, the ministry is also offering to arrange business start-up loans for new olim before they actually arrive.
"At the heart of the matter, we are trying to convey that Israel is not just about Zionist ideological fulfillment. It is a place which offers creativity, entrepreneurship and economic independence," said Boim.
"We must 're-conquer' the Russian front and convince them to come back," Boim said.
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