Knesset Addresses Western Immigration

Ad Feedback - JERUSALEM, Israel - On Tuesday, the Israeli Knesset announced the formation of a new committee to address the needs of Jews in Western countries considering immigration (aliyah) to Israel.

Co-founders MK Gilad Erdan (Likud) and MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) hope the Knesset Caucus for Western Aliyah will make it much more palatable for families from Western countries to make the transition to Israeli culture and lifestyle.

The committee sees itself as a link between government ministries and aliyah organizations, such as the Jewish Agency, Nefesh B'Nefesh (soul to soul), and the French AMI (Aliyah Meilleur Integration).

"All sorts of things get buried in the bureaucracy," said Erdan, "and bureaucrats move faster if MKs are involved," he said.

"The idea is to develop a comprehensive program to attract olim [immigrants] from the West and to start taking care of this through legislation and through government policy," Erdan said.

"One of the biggest obstacles to aliyah is that the Diaspora communities (Jewish communities outside Israel) don't encourage it. They hear a mixed message from us -- that we need their strength in the United States and elsewhere. It's true that we see American Jewish strength as important, but we see greater importance in the strength we gain when Jews come to Israel [to live]," Erdan explained.

Co-founder Yoel Hasson said Westerners need practical help.

"If we're going to ask Westerners to move to Israel, we have to tell them how this will happen, how they will find a job and a home. We have to show them how we're making Israel more attractive to them," Hasson said.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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