What Lieberman didn't do for the immigrants

Departing minister slammed by former immigrant colleagues

nudelman 224.88 (photo credit: )
nudelman 224.88
(photo credit: )
Even as Israel Beiteinu continued to paint itself as the champion of immigrant causes, some of the Knesset's veteran immigrant ministers criticized the party for failing to take on any of the social portfolios that could have benefited olim when it joined Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government 16 months ago. Kadima MK Michael Nudelman, chairman of the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs (and who emigrated from Kiev in 1991), toldThe Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that he had been surprised that, at the very least, party head Avigdor Lieberman had not demanded the Immigrant Absorption Ministry. Lieberman and cohorts have also been criticized for lack of involvement when the ministry was threatened with massive budget cuts in November. "It all has to be put in proportion," said Nudelman, adding that Lieberman has been in Israel for 30 years and has no connection to the real aliya issues. "There have been some improvements for new immigrants in the past year or so but the question is whether these would have happened even if he [Lieberman] had not been present," Nudelman said. MK Marina Solodkin, also from Kadima and a former immigrant absorption minister, highlighted a recent case where the Knesset Economics Affairs Committee had debated allowing the Russian-language TV channel (Channel 9) to be broadcast over the airwaves to all television viewers, independently of cable and satellite. Israel Beiteinu party members were nowhere to be seen during this debate, she said, and the idea was voted down.