Knesset committee warns that following spate of budget cuts, Israel won't be able to handle expected wave of immigration.
Israel will be unable to handle a large wave of immigration expected into the country following the coronavirus pandemic, a Knesset committee warned, citing recent budget cuts to organizations involved in facilitating immigration.
On Wednesday, the Knesset’s Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee held a discussion on the upcoming wave of immigration expected over the next few years.
Fueled in part by the global coronavirus pandemic, economic crises created by governmental efforts to combat the pandemic, and a rise in anti-Semitism, Israel predicts it could receive as many as 90,000 new immigrants in 2021 – nearly three times the number of immigrants in 2019.
But committee members warned Wednesday that Israel may not be able to handle this surge in immigration, noting that budgets for immigration and absorption had been cut.
Nativ, the government bureau which helps facilitate immigration from Eastern Europe, had its budget slashed from 80 million shekels ($23.2 million) in 2015 to 56 million shekels ($16.2 million) in 2020, said Minister Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), who is in charge of the program.
The Committee Chairman, David Bitan, called to increase Nativ’s budget by 10 million shekels to help it speed up the processing of applications filed by prospective immigrants.
Nativ, which assesses the eligibility of potential immigrants to move to Israel under the Law of Return, already has a six-month waiting period for prospective immigrants looking to receive an appointment at the Israeli embassy in Moscow to check whether they qualify for citizenship.
“The significance of this is that anyone who decides to make Aliyah will be able to actually do it only a year from now," he said. “In the meantime, he can, of course, change his mind, and we will lose this oleh (immigrant)." Read more at Arutz-7