Absorption budget cuts to be reduced

PM nixes dismantling of KAMEA scholarship program for olim scientists.

PM olmert (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
PM olmert
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ordered the Finance Ministry late Wednesday to cancel some of the cuts to the immigrant absorption budgets, the Immigrant Absorption Ministry said. At a Wednesday night meeting with Olmert, Immigrant Absorption Minister Ya'acov Edri and olim, Olmert said he ordered the cancellation of the Finance Ministry's plan to dismantle the NIS 90 million KAMEA program that funds academic positions for 500 immigrant scientists. Furthermore, the Immigrant Absorption Ministry said in a statement, a Finance Ministry plan that would make it more difficult for immigrants to obtain cheaper public housing - making their entry requirements to the program equal to those of veteran Israelis - would also be canceled. The Finance Ministry has denied in the past that there were plans to enact such a policy. Planned cuts to the appliance grants of some NIS 3,000-NIS 5,000 for olim from impoverished countries for the purchase of basic appliances are still on the books. Over the past two weeks, a large package of planned cuts, including a 20 percent cut to the absorption stipend, have been canceled following lobbying efforts by Edri and a handful of immigrant MKs, according to the Immigrant Absorption Ministry.