Special Update -- Israeli Cabinet Approves Special Assistance for Tunisian Olim

March 27, 2011 / 21 Adar 5771 

Initiative joint effort of the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption and the Jewish Agency

The Government of Israel today approved a special program offering financial assistance to new immigrants from Tunisia. The program was formulated by the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption and the Jewish Agency following the protests against the Tunisian regime that broke out in December 2010 and the resulting revolution. The program is aimed at assisting the Jews of Tunisia to make aliyah and help to ease their absorption in Israel.

The Jewish community of Tunisia is a tight-knit and traditional community of approximately 1500 individuals, most of whom – approximately 1100 -- live on the island of Djerba while some 300 live in the capital of Tunis. With the revolution came a growing sense of political and economic instability among Tunisian Jews.

As a result, the Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption have initiated a special aliyah program for Tunisian Jews in order to ease their transition. The program will allow immigrants who arrive in the next few months to receive housing in absorption centers for a full year. In addition, every family will receive a grant of 33,000 NIS ($9,300) -- 15,000 ($4,200) of which will be given to the family in their first year in the country, with the remaining 18,000 ($5,100) distributed in their second year.

Eli Cohen, Director-General of the Jewish Agency Aliyah Department, commented “the Jews of Tunisia are currently feeling insecure about their future. I hope that the special assistance offered by the State of Israel will calm their fears and enable them to build a more secure life here in Israel”.

Absorption Minister Sofa Landver said that “this is a national mission and the Government of Israel has the responsibility to enable Tunisian Jews to get accustomed to life in Israel and integrate within Israeli society. New immigrants coming from Tunisia are on the run and are not able to properly prepare for the move. I commend the government decision to assist them”. Over the last few months, 16 Jews have made aliyah from Tunisia – the same number that came during the course of all of 2010.

Established in 1929, the Jewish Agency is the world's largest Jewish non-profit organization, serving as the overseas arm of Jewish communities around the world- and as their bridge to Israel, before and since its inception as a state. The Agency was instrumental in the founding of the State of Israel and now works to ensure the future of a connected, committed, global Jewish People with a strong Israel at its center. The Jewish Agency pursues this goal by bringing young Jews to Israel for life-changing experiences and involving them in social activism throughout the world. More information can be obtained at http://www.jewishagency.org.

Press contact:
Nirit Harel French
Jewish Agency for Israel

For further information contact:
Michael Jankelowitz
Spokesman to Foreign Press
Jewish Agency for Israel
+972.52.6130220 mobile



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05 Apr 2011 / 1 Nisan 5771 0