Jewish Agency urges Masa internships

"MK aide" among proposed options for overseas post-grad program participants.

By HAVIV RETTING, SHEERA CLAIRE FRENKEL
January 2, 2007 17:20
2 minute read.
bielski 298.88

bielski 298.88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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Jewish Agency chairman Ze'ev Bielski has called on his staff to help find work opportunities for Masa participants who come to Israel to experience the country. "I'm calling on you all, managers and workers, to take an active part in advancing the program, primarily by using personal contacts - friends, family and colleagues - to find worthwhile internships for the program's worthy participants," Bielski wrote in an internal memo circulated among Jewish Agency officials this week. The new program, dubbed "Careers," is part of the Masa project, cofinanced by the Prime Minister's Office, the Jewish Agency and the participants themselves, that brings young Jews from around the world to spend several months in Israel. Masa is considered the Jewish Agency's flagship program. The Career program - "an integral part of Masa," according to Bielski - brings young adults who have finished their undergraduate education to Israel for a period of several months, during which they have an opportunity to work or intern in their field in an Israeli workplace. In the memo, Bielski lists fields in which there are not enough opportunities for Career participants. These fields run the gamut of professions, including database management, robotics, accounting, art therapy and film production. One workplace the Agency is seeking to include in the Career program drew some raised eyebrows from MKs earlier in the week - "parliamentary aides for MKs." While MKs have taken on volunteers from overseas in the past, those seeking to work as parliamentary aides would have to take on a more serious commitment, MKs told The Jerusalem Post. Each MK is given a budget for one parliamentary aide and one spokesperson, and while the MKs were always enthusiastic to receive volunteers, they said they could not see themselves hiring Masa candidates as paid parliamentary aides. "It takes months just to train an aide and it requires an intimate knowledge of the Israeli parliamentary system [to work as one]," said one Labor MK, who asked to remain anonymous. "I can't see anybody wanting to fill that position with someone who would only be in Israel for six months." Some MKs were more optimistic, however. One Kadima MK who has taken volunteers in the past told the Post "it is a great and positive thing to hear that people from abroad are excited about being involved in the Knesset. Being a part of the Knesset is to become part of the backbone of Israeli society."

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