Gov't: 75% of Gaza evacuees have jobs

85% employment expected by summer; NGO claims only 38% are employed.

gush katif rally 298 (photo credit: Ahmad Gharabli [file])
gush katif rally 298
(photo credit: Ahmad Gharabli [file])
Approximately 75 percent of the Gaza Strip evacuees have found jobs since they were expelled from their homes in 2005, according to statistics presented Monday to the Ministerial Disengagement Committee. This number will increase to 85% within half a year, government officials who are working with the evacuees said. But Yosef Zvi Rimon, head of the nongovernmental group JobKatif, which helps to find jobs for the evacuees, said the government's numbers were too high. He said only 38% of the evacuees had found jobs. Rimon said 2,100 of the Gaza residents had jobs before implementation of the disengagement plan, but only 800 had found jobs since. He attributed the discrepancy between his numbers and the government's to the method for calculating how many Gaza evacuees were employable. Rimon said all the jobs the evacuees lost needed to be replaced. The government, he said, counted only those evacuees it believed could be employed. As a result, the government was not taking into account those over the age of 50 who were having a hard time finding work. The government was working quickly to resettle the evacuees and to return them to the workforce, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the committee. He said some people had the impression the government was not doing enough to help, but that was because it took much longer to absorb the evacuees then it did to take them out of Gaza. The committee also dealt with housing and financial issues. It approved the transfer of NIS 7 million from the Interior Ministry's budget to that of the Local Authorities to reimburse them for their absorption efforts following the Gaza withdrawal. Some NIS 10,000m. was allocated to plan for housing construction, and 3,000 residential units were approved on Monday. The committee also agreed to extend by another six months stipends for evacuees who are enrolled in the professional retraining courses offered by the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry.