MK Sofer solves Ulpan crisis with NIS 20m. investment

According to the Ministry, over 73,000 new olim immigrated to Israel in 2022 and about 24,000 new immigrants studied in government Ulpanim.

PERFECTING HEBREW at an ulpan. (photo credit: NATI SHOHAT/FLASH90)
PERFECTING HEBREW at an ulpan.
(photo credit: NATI SHOHAT/FLASH90)

Aliyah and Integration Minister Ofir Sofer will invest NIS 20 million in urgent funds, in order to boost Hebrew learning for new olim (immigrants to Israel), according to a report by Israel Hayom.

According to the report, “the funds will be allocated to private language-learning schools, which are not normally subsidized by the state, to help tackle the dire shortage of Hebrew teachers.”

Sofer updated on Tuesday that he has allocated an additional NIS 20 million in order to create thousands of vouchers for learning Hebrew in the private Ulpanim (government-funded Hebrew classes) of the Aliyah and Integration Ministry.

Immigration rates 2022-2023

According to the Ministry, over 73,000 new olim immigrated to Israel in 2022 and about 24,000 new immigrants studied in government Ulpanim. Since 2022 was a record-breaking year in terms of the number of olim, about 3,500 immigrants have been waiting to start their Hebrew studies, since there is no space for new students. In addition, about 6,000 olim are studying Hebrew while using these vouchers in private Ulpanim that have been recognized by the ministry - two times more than the number of students who have been studying Hebrew in private Ulpanim in previous years.

 An Ulpan in Dimona, 1955. (credit: MOSHE PRIDAN/GPO) An Ulpan in Dimona, 1955. (credit: MOSHE PRIDAN/GPO)

"I am happy that we have found a budgetary solution to finance the vouchers for thousands of new olim who immigrated to Israel this year," Sofer said in an official statement. “I understood the Ulpanim crisis immediately when I took office, and happily we’ve achieved a quick solution for this issue.” Sofer said that “these vouchers will help thousands of immigrants to learn Hebrew and to make it easier for them to integrate into the Israeli job market.”

According to Israel Hayom, a recent report by the Knesset Research and Information Center, showed that Israel is short of 88 educators, which has led to a 6-month waiting list of 3,600 new immigrants looking to be accepted to Ulpanim.