August 27, 2010
Jewish Agency campaign spares new immigrants of bureaucratic hassles. 'Government workers here are much more polite than in France,' says one of new arrivers says
Danny Adino Ababa
'Full-fledged citizen within five hours' Photo: Ata Awisat
Immigrating to Israel is usually accompanied by many bureaucratic hassles, but thanks to a campaign initiated by the Jewish Agency, 140 new olim who arrived in Israel on Tuesday were spared this headache.
Despite the warm weather, the new immigrants knelt on the floor upon landing and kissed the burning ground on the runway.
From Ben-Gurion Airport, they drove to a hotel in Jerusalem, where they were met by representatives of the different authorities. Instead of being asked to visit the different ministries, the immigrants immediately received an identity card, an Israeli driver's license, an HMO membership card and a cellular phone. Some of them were even hired by representatives of contractor companies.
Most of the immigrants came from France, but the show was stolen by the Turkish olim, who must have realized that they have nothing left to do there in the Erdogan era. One of them, textile merchant Nissim Yohai, 54, says Muslims have stopped entering his store since the deterioration in the relations between Israel and Turkey.
Suzanne from France said enthusiastically, "I can't believe that within five hours I become a full-fledged Israeli citizen. Your bureaucracy is faster than in France, and the government workers are much more polite."
A veteran Israeli standing next to her commented cynically, "She doesn't realize that this was only the reception. She will get to know Israeli bureaucracy inside out very soon."