Nudelman: Open local immigrant absorption departments

MK calls hopes new departments will better deal with immigrant absorption issues.

aliya 298 nefesh benefes (photo credit: Nefesh Benefesh)
aliya 298 nefesh benefes
(photo credit: Nefesh Benefesh)
Head of the Knesset's Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee, MK Michael Nudelman (Kadima) called on the government Tuesday to implement new legislation demanding local authorities establish specialized departments to deal with immigrant absorption issues. "Successful absorption of new immigrants by the country's local authorities would most certainly help to increase and improve the aliya process," said Nudelman, who held the meeting to mark Local Authorities Day in the Knesset. He noted that currently, local municipalities are not obliged by law to have a department to help facilitate the smooth integration of new immigrants in the area. "I would welcome a legal initiative to force the state to establish a department of immigrant absorption within each local authority," Adi Eldar, head of the Union of Local Authorities, told the committee. Kadima MK Marina Solodkin said that she had broached the subject with officials at the Interior Ministry, which oversees local authorities nationwide, but as yet no plans had been put into action. Solodkin called on Nudelman to push the issue more aggressively until it became statutory for municipalities to provide an absorption department to ease the integration process for new immigrants as they begin their lives in Israel. In conclusion, Nudelman said the committee planned to submit a bill on the matter in the coming months and called on the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, the Jewish Agency for Israel, the American-Joint Distribution Committee and the Union of Local Authorities to work together to change the status quo.