Aliyah and Integration Minister Ofir Sofer (RZP) on Sunday said about NIS 250 million has been added to his ministry’s budget, and he intends to use it for promoting aliyah from North America and France.
“Sofer is interested in the aliyah of [entire] communities to facilitate their absorption in Israel,” the ministry said in a press release. Sofer is “expected to allocate budgets for programs intended to integrate new immigrants into the employment market.”
About 70 new employees will join the ministry, “which will help the ministry assign workers to programs for immigrants and enlarge the absorption centers throughout the country,” Sofer was quoted as saying.
Sofer wants to broaden the number of programs and assistance to olim in the areas of employment, licensing of certain professions and to expand programs for learning Hebrew.
“These programs are expected to receive a significant boost, and in addition, the minister has already added 3,000 vouchers for learning Hebrew this year and is expected to work to expand them,” the statement said.
Boosting aliyah from the US and France
Sofer told The Jerusalem Post earlier this month he wants to “put all of my efforts into the absorption of more immigrants from the Western countries, mainly the US and France.”
The Religious Zionist Party demanded a NIS 350m. budget for the ministry to be dedicated to aliyah from these communities. Sofer succeeded in receiving a budget increase, but it is substantially lower than agreed upon in the coalition agreements.
This will encourage Jewish immigration from the US and France, Sofer said in the statement.
“In the past year, there has been a significant decrease of dozens of percent in the number of immigrants from France and the US. Data from the Jewish Agency indicates this continuing trend and it requires us to have high-quality absorption programs as well as programs to encourage aliyah from these countries.”Ofir Sofer
“In the past year, there has been a significant decrease of dozens of percent in the number of immigrants from France and the US,” he said. “Data from the Jewish Agency indicates this continuing trend, and it requires us to have high-quality absorption programs as well as programs to encourage aliyah from these countries.”
“To facilitate the absorption and integration of immigrants in Israel and encourage Jews to immigrate to Israel, a great effort must be invested to integrate the [existing] immigrants into the employment market by acknowledging their degrees and diplomas, along with investing in learning the language,” he added.
Sofer said he was happy that he was able to reach a significant budget addition because the Treasury officials “understood the great importance of helping immigrants and despite the budgetary difficulty.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged the importance of it during the cabinet meetings last week, Sofer said, adding that Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich (RZP) sees “great importance in the aliyah of many Jews from France and the US.