Lion cuts Jerusalem's budget for immigrants

The opposition Hitorerut party raised an objection to the municipal budget because of cuts to the budget for immigrants.

Dan Illouz (photo credit: Courtesy)
Dan Illouz
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The budget committee of the Jerusalem city council decided Monday to slash NIS 700,000 from the city’s budget for absorbing immigrants.
During his campaign, mayoral candidate Moshe Lion promised to increase the budget for immigrants from “a mini budget of NIS 12 million that does not allow for much” to at least NIS 20 million. But instead he has decided to reduce the budget substantially.
The opposition Hitorerut party raised an objection to the municipal budget because of cuts to the budget for immigrants, during discussions in the Jerusalem Budget Committee discussing the 2019 budget.
“After promising to make olim a priority, Lion is now running away from his responsibility,” said Dan Illouz, a Hitorerut city council member who is a Canadian immigrant and who raised the objection. “If we are able to save on some programs for immigrant integration, we should re-invest this money in the same subject. We are hoping to see budget increases for  immigrant integration, not cuts. Immigrants are a great opportunity for Jerusalem, and this municipality should do all it can to help them reach their full potential here in Jerusalem.”
But sources in the immigrant absorption department of the city said the cut was for ulpan [Hebrew language] teachers, and the cut was requested, because most of the budget for the teachers has been paid for by the national Education Ministry.
Deputy mayor Fleur Hassan Nahoum from the Jerusalem Will Succeed party that is in the coalition said Lion is committed to making up the small amounts of money that has been cut from services that help immigrants, including from the national Immigrant Absorption Ministry.
“Unfortunately the budgets for immigrant absorption in the city have never been very high, and we are working hard with the mayor’s office, the ministry of immigration and absorption and philanthropic foundations to ensure that immigrants get what they deserve so we can keep them in the city,” Hassan Nahoum said. “The NIS 700,000 cutback claim by Dan Illouz is unfortunately misleading and is based on budgets being covered by a different source and not the absorption department in the municipality. The services have stayed the same.”