Ministry of Immigrant Absorption
2 Kaplan St., Qiryat Ben-Gurion
P.O. Box 13061, 91130 Jerusalem
Tel. (02) 6752611
Fax. (02) 5618138
(Source: Israel Government Year Book)
(Hebrew, English, Russian)
Functions and Structure
The Ministry of Immigrant Absorption is responsible for the economic,
occupational, social, and cultural integration of immigrants (olim) during
their first three years in Israel. (Housing-aid eligibility lasts five
years.) The Ministry also encourages others - public institutions, volunteer
organizations, schoolchildren, and university students - to promote
immigrant absorption. The Ministry is organized as follows:
ADMINISTRATION: The senior echelon of the Ministry sets
absorption policy and coordinates the activities of public agencies that
handle various aspects of absorption, such as housing, employment, social
integration, financial assistance, and special welfare services geared to
The Absorption Services Division steers immigrants to
absorption centers, transitional arrangements, or permanent housing. The
Division coordinates among the organizations that provide immigrants with
absorption and welfare services, including education, health, and customs,
with special attention to former Prisoners of Zion and immigrants in army
service. The Division also deals with rural settlements and with returning
residents (former emigrants). Immigrants are provided with social services
by the Ministry, under the auspices of the Social Services Division of the
Jewish Agency Immigration and Absorption Department. The Ministry itself has
a Division for the early detection of vulnerable groups of immigrants, which
provides them with intensive preventive and supportive care throughout their
period of eligibility.
The Student Authority coordinates the integration of
university and yeshiva students and helps them find the most suitable
educational setting. The Information and Publications Department gathers
information about absorption conditions and disseminates it among potential
and actual immigrants, thereby helping them expedite their integration.
The Center for the Absorption of Scientists facilitates job
placement for scholars who have not found work with research institutes on
The Social Integration Department guides the public
agencies that promote immigrants' social integration, helps finance their
projects, and monitors their activities.
The Planning and Research Division gathers and processes
immigration and absorption data from Israel and abroad; forecasts
absorption-related needs for economic (jobs, housing, welfare), social, and
educational services; and draws up plans based on the economy's own
requirements. The Division also monitors the absorption process from the
personal, social, and economic perspectives.
The Ministry has five district offices (Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Central, Haifa,
and Beersheva, each with its own branches). The Ministry is in the midst of
a reorganization that will devolve greater authority to the offices that
coordinate work in the branches. The district offices also deal with
immigrants in absorption centers, immigrant hostels, and ulpanim
(Hebrew-language courses) in their geographic areas.
Reception at the Airport: The Ministry office at Ben-Gurion
International Airport is the immigrant's first encounter with the State and
its institutions. The immigrant arrives full of expectations, hopes, and
fears that have evolved over a long period of time. Processing at the
airport is, in effect, the first stage in absorption. The work is intensive,
as immigrants stream through at all hours of the day. Staffers have to
process them quickly, taking account of each immigrant's unique situation
and comfort without diminishing the quality of service.
The absorption unit at the airport focuses on the administrative aspects of
absorption: recording immigrants in the database, issuing official
documents, providing pocket money (against the "absorption basket" and
customs grant), initial information of various kinds, referral to temporary
housing, and referral to the appropriate agencies for those in need of extra
The computer system at the airport is based on a mainframe to which 30
processing stations are connected, each with a terminal and printer for
documents; several automatic cash dispensers; special check printers (for
the "absorption basket" and customs grant); and an information center that
provides up-to-date data on imminent arrivals. The airport system is
connected to the Ministry's mainframe for ongoing forwarding of data on new
arrivals, where they have gone to live, access to the Population Registry,
and so on.
The Ministry's central information system (immigrant database) contains data
on 500,000 immigrants, including 100,000 in their eligibility period.
Information on another 200,000 immigrants was input in 1990, increasing the
volume of accessible data by 40% and that of active data by 200%.
Direct Absorption, a new approach to the immigrant, has
been used by the Ministry for the past few years and has wrought a radical
and irreversible revolution. Under direct absorption, immigrants integrate
themselves as they wish rather than being directed by absorption clerks to
places and ways of life not necessarily suited to them. Direct absorption
has five aspects:
- freedom of choice;
- provision of resources;
- assistance at specified intervals;
- the influence of relatives on immigrants and their integration;
- the impact of Israeli society and the immigrant's exposure to everyday
Direct absorption promotes receptiveness in society, so that informal
absorption systems providing a range of services develop alongside the
The absorption basket is intended to meet new immigrants' basic needs:
- initial absorption - hotel accommodation, basic expenses, and
- rent for the first 12 months;
- assistance with housing expenses (taxes, utilities, and so on);
- living expenses for the first half year, covering the period of
- costs of children's education;
- purchase of basic furnishings.
Immigrants begin to benefit from the absorption basket as soon as they
arrive. Up to 20% of the first year's allotment, meant to cover initial
expenses and rent for the first three months, is dispensed at the airport.
The rest of the money is put into their bank accounts after they provide the
Ministry with their account numbers and home addresses. This simplification
cuts red tape and minimizes contacts between immigrants and the
Several lessons have been learned from the direct-absorption experience.
This method, for example, has been found unsuitable for a small proportion
of immigrants who lack the emotional strength and social assistance to cope
with their unfamiliarity with the language and mentality of Israel. The
elderly, the ill, and other high-risk groups of immigrants also require
The Housing Absorption Department sponsors special projects
such as encouraging immigrants to settle in development towns; solving the
problems of exceptional immigrant groups (Ethiopians, elderly, singles, and
persons in need of special care); narrowing the gap between the cost of
housing and immigrants' ability to pay by taking account of the level of
housing loans and the rate of monthly payments by area of residence;
bridging the gap between available housing and needs by making temporary
arrangements (renovated dwelling units, hotels, army bases, mobile homes,
and, perhaps, tent encampments); and individual care of the housing problems
of immigrants with special needs.
The Department simplified rent-assistance procedures by no longer requiring
immigrants to present a lease in order to receive absorption-basket money.
Thus, by allowing immigrants to use their budgets as they wished, the
Department elasticized the absorption process. This also vitiated the upward
spiral of housing rents and helped tenant thousands of long-unoccupied
public housing units, especially in peripheral parts of the country. Ways of
encouraging immigrants to purchase housing commensurate with their ability
to pay for it are being explored.
The Employment Absorption Department gathers information on
the job market, identifies immigrants' needs by occupational field, and
formulates assistance policies meant to meet these needs. The intention is
to expedite immigrants' job placement to the extent possible. While current,
up-to-date information is essential for successful absorption, a national
plan and massive financial investments are also needed to solve the
employment problem. The Department is trying, with its limited resources, to
take action and meet needs in two areas: translating the immigrants'
documents (education, occupation, etc.) immediately upon their arrival, and
developing absorption plans for each occupational field.
The Ministry runs ulpan (Hebrew-language) classes, of which
90% are meant for immigrants in the direct absorption track. The five-month
courses are operated in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and
Culture. Immigrants choose among 2,000 classes nationwide in accordance with
their area of residence.
The wave of immigration has transformed the role of the ulpan. The Ministry
utilizes the immigrants' presence at the ulpan to solve problems as they
arise, thereby avoiding the need to visit different offices in succession.
In conjunction with the Manufacturers' Association, potential employers
visit ulpanim to meet with immigrants before their study period ends.
Immigrants with trades and professions are referred to jobs on the spot;
others are given aptitude tests.
Job Location: The Department tracks job-market developments
and maintains ongoing contacts with the Ministry of Labor and the
Manufacturers' Association. After translating documents (at Ministry
expense), occupational testing, and certification, the Department tries to
liaise between immigrants and employers. Recent arrivals from the Soviet
Union are known to have a high work ethic and to be strongly motivated to
accept any type of work. The Department collaborates with the Employment
Service to place immigrants in jobs. "Job fairs" and other important
projects have accomplished much in this regard. In fact, the Department
works closely with all organizations and agencies that are willing to
Two major types of employment funds are used to subsidize immigrants'
- The Combined Personal Salary Fund subsidizes immigrants'
wages for up to six months in order to facilitate training, adjustment, and
experience without pressure from the employer. Thus immigrants are given a
fair chance to acclimate themselves in the workplace. The subsidy is offered
to industrial, business, and public employers, but only immigrants with a
trade or profession are eligible.
- The Business Promotion Fund is restricted to employers of
university graduates, engineers, physicians, and paramedics. Since these
professionals have a harder time adjusting to a new workplace, they are
offered an increased salary subsidy in their first few months on the
Vocational Training, Retraining, and Refresher Courses: The
Department conducts and helps finance vocational training and retraining
courses for immigrants whose occupations are not in demand locally
(forestry, oenology, railway engineering, etc.). Many participants in these
courses are encouraged to become teachers of technological-scientific
subjects, since engineers, for example, are known to be excellent candidates
for teaching mathematics, physics, and electricity in high schools. Some
professionals, especially lawyers, accountants, teachers, and doctors, are
in need of relicensing courses. New courses have been started in order to
update computer engineers, dentists, and jurists on developments in their
fields. Most of these courses are conducted in conjunction with government
ministries, the Jewish Agency, and the Joint Distribution Committee.
Vocational Guidance and Referral Centers: The Department
operates four centers, one in each district, to provide care and training for
immigrants having trouble finding work for personal reasons. Immigrants may
stay at such a center for four months, during which time they continue to learn
Hebrew, undergo vocational training, and receive personal occupational
assistance. The courses at these centers include job placement, job-hunting
workshops, and the services of an occupational psychologist. Immigrants are
eligible for financial assistance for living expenses during the course.
Immigrant Artists and Athletes are a special population group that qualifies
for assistance in procuring equipment and developing skills (voice lessons
for actors, translation services for authors, coaching for athletes). The
Ministry sits on several interministry committees and offers this population
group financial assistance under specified criteria. Screening committees
classify the immigrants by level and recommend ways of helping them.
Industrial Projects: The Department sponsors and carries out
various projects in concert with employers. Examples are a project with Bezeq
to train engineers for communications work; training accountants in cooperation
with the Income Tax Commission; and training engineers and other skilled
personnel with the Israel Oil Refineries. A unique project for Ethiopian
immigrants was carried out during the year, and vocational training courses
for Youth Aliyah alumni were started up. Ethiopian immigrants who are not
inducted into the army (women, for example) are offered assistance and
Entrepreneurship: The Department encourages private
initiative,since polls show that 15% of recent immigrants are willing and able
to create their own jobs. The Ministry welcomes this possibility, which may
generate thousands of additional jobs and develop the country's industry and
business. The Ministry's instruction and guidance in these regards are meant to
overcome the immigrants' lack of capital and unfamiliarity with the local
Center for the Absorption of Scientists: Thousands of
immigrants are scientists or scholars, and the Center tries, with its meager
resources, to help facilitate the absorption of this superb human resource. The
Center registers immigrant scientists, examines them against the criteria,
helps them draw up, translate, edit, and circulate their resums, determines
their professional profiles, helps them find work (in universities and the
private and industrial sectors), negotiates with employers to set levels of
absorption assistance under existing programs, prepares material for the
interministerial committee that approves financial assistance, draws up
financial statements, and monitors progress by visiting the scientists in
their workplaces. Special efforts are made to place R&D scientists and
engineers with industry.
Social Integration Department: Since an immigrant's rapid
integration depends largely on the assistance provided by society, Israeli
society has been mobilized to help accommodate the hundreds of thousands of
immigrants in the present wave. The Social Integration Department provides
active assistance on several levels. First there is explaining and enhancing
non-immigrants' awareness of the crucial importance of immigrant absorption.
The Department holds lectures on absorption throughout the country. Notably,
Israelis are less in need of information campaigns about the importance of
the Soviet immigration than about the absorption of the Ethiopians. Society
has greeted the Soviet immigrants quite warmly, especially in development
towns, where long-negative migration balances have become positive.
Residents there regard the immigrants as leverage for community development.
In its informational activities, the Department makes use of films and
immigrant artists who describe to schoolchildren the adjustment difficulties
faced by immigrant children. The Department also recruits thousands of
volunteers through volunteer organizations.
Social integration is a five-year process (as opposed to three years for the
other aspects of absorption excluding housing). During this time, Department
personnel assisted by volunteers try to whet the immigrant's desire to
integrate. The great importance of preserving ethnic cultural heritage is
acknowledged; instead of advocating a ``melting pot,'' each group is helped
to preserve its heritage and uniqueness. Thus, for example, the Department
encouraged the development of Ethiopian Jewish folklore by establishing
centers devoted to this subject in several communities.
Socio-educational activities for immigrants included the distribution of
prayerbooks for the High Holidays and information booklets on all
Jewish/Israeli festivals, festival parties, and festival packets (apples and
honey for Rosh Hashana, the ``four species'' for Sukkot, and menorahs for
Hanukkah). On the intermediate days of Sukkot, thousands of immigrants were
hosted in non-immigrants' sukkot and experienced the festival for the first
time. Hundreds of Soviet immigrants took part in the traditional Jerusalem
March and weekend seminars about Jewish/Israeli holidays.
The Department's work plan includes:
- social, cultural, and spiritual enrichment for immigrants during ulpan,
in coordination with ulpan directors;
- at least two field trips to historical sites, settlements, and so on,
including a mandatory trip to Jerusalem;
- lectures on Judaism, heritage, society, economy, geography, civics, etc.;
- liaison with army units that "adopt" ulpanim;
- recruiting volunteers for organizational or individual action. All
volunteers underwent orientation, including studying the psychological
adjustments that immigrants have to make and familiarization with the types of
Ministry assistance that immigrants receive. Each volunteer was given accident
insurance and was reimbursed for expenses;
- assistance using various information media: audio-visual programs, films,
pamphlets, lectures, and special presentations on immigration and
Spiritual Activity: Most of the recent immigrants had been out
of touch with their Jewish heritage for decades. The Ministry responded by
offering spiritual activities including tours of historical sites, seminars on
Jewish heritage, and information about holidays.
The Welfare Services Department ensures that immigrants
receivethe aid and services they needed, and acts to identify special groups in
cooperation with the relevant service agencies. The Department has four
sections: Prisoners of Zion, Education, Soldiers, and Health Services.
The Prisoners of Zion Authority handles the recognition of Prisoners
ofZion and relatives of martyrs. It verifies evidence, sometimes in conjunction
with outside agencies, and certifies documents. The Authority then forwards
the material to the National Insurance Institute, which sets the level of
disability compensation. Prisoners of Zion are eligible for compensation if
imprisonment caused them disability of 25% or more. Thus far, 2,428
Prisoners of Zion (including 301 deceased) have been recognized.
Compensation is given to 634 former Prisoners of Zion plus 29 widows and
bereaved parents. The Authority's board met four times during the year in
review and recognized 126 Prisoners of Zion (53 from the Soviet Union, 29
from Iran, 10 from Syria, 21 from Ethiopia, two from Eastern Europe, four
from Iraq, five from Morocco, and two from Egypt); 100 of them were still
eligible for immigrants' rights. Another 40 applications were pending.
The Education Section acts, in conjunction with the Ministry
of Education and Culture, to ensure the integration in school of immigrant
students, taking account of their special needs. It provides financial aid,
individualized tutoring, educational enrichment and reinforcement programs,
wide-ranging projects for weak population groups, and counseling and
guidance for immigrant families. The "absorption basket" includes a grant
meant to cover school expenses (registration fees, service fees, textbooks,
field trips, cultural activities, and personal supplies); admittedly,
however, the grant is not large enough. The Department provided private
tutoring for students with exceptional learning difficulties and adjustment
problems. As of April, 1990, the Education Section had provided 1,155
students with assistance exceeding that normally extended by the formal
school system. Enrichment programs included reinforcement of subjects such
as history, English, Israel geography, first-grade preparation, extra
preparation for matriculation exams, English study by computer, and
The Education Ministry offers additional enrichment activities at its summer
ulpanim. In the summer of 1990, the ulpanim were extended to 6 weeks
(instead of 3 as in the past) in order to meet immigrant students'
educational needs and provide an organized scholastic environment for
children whose parents were taking ulpan or vocational-training courses.
Within the framework of the summer ulpanim, the Section financed
miscellaneous programs, outings, events, and activities meant to acquaint
participants with the country.
The Section instituted a pilot program that trains group counselors for
Russian-speaking immigrants; the first class of 25 counselors completed the
course during the period in review. These counselors, who have been in
Israel for an average of five years, help immigrant parents cope with the
Israeli school system, various frameworks and services, and the
psycho-social difficulties that accompany the immigrant child's adjustment.
The Soldiers Section handles, monitors, and assists immigrant soldiers
during their army service. Some 1,200 immigrant soldiers including 750 from
Ethiopia (of whom 350 have no parents in Israel) are registered with the
section today. Assistance for qualifying immigrant soldiers includes
financial aid above and beyond IDF wages, help with housing-loan and rent
payments, and suspension of immigrant rights for the period of army service.
Parentless soldiers from Ethiopia are also eligible for help in obtaining
housing, furniture, and other supplies, and financial aid to set up a
household. The care of eligible soldiers begins in their last year of study
under Youth Aliyah auspices and continues through their pre-induction
preparations, including a special course for Ethiopian immigrants. The
Ministry and the IDF cooperate fully to fund these assistance programs.
The Section recently extended its care to include ex-soldiers without
parents in Israel, helping them re-integrate into civilian life and
referring them to vocational training. This activity is coordinated with the
army and the Demobilized Soldiers Referral Office.
The Section, in concert with Gadna ("paramilitary youth brigades"), placed
youth counselors in 20 targeted immigrant-absorption communities. In the
first phase of this program, 40 youth counselors were trained. Gadna set 5
major objectives for these counselors' activity: preparing immigrants for
army service, working with youth aged 14-17, preparing adults for the
abridged army service they perform, social-community work with youth, and
helping the target communities integrate immigrant youth.
Health Section: The Ministry provides all new immigrants with complete
health insurance (ambulatory care, medical assistance, and hospitalization)
for six months from the date of immigration. This service is provided
through one of four health funds, chosen by the immigrant: Klalit
(Histadrut), Maccabi, Me'uhedet, and Le'umit. In view of the Ethiopian
immigrants' special needs, the Ministry decided to insure them for a further
The Section also assures:
- coordination with various agencies (health funds, National
Insurance, Ministry of Health);
- counseling and guidance for immigrants as to their health insurance rights;
- instruction and guidance for caregivers and social workers regarding
practice norms and methods; and
- updating of health practices in accordance with immigrants' changing
The Section enhanced immigrants' and caseworkers' awareness of the paramount
importance of arranging health insurance by publishing advisory booklets in
English, French, Farsi, Russian, and Romanian, in conjunction with the
Ministry's Information and Publicity Division.
After the first six months, and until the end of the three year eligibility
period, the Ministry maintains a special health-insurance plan covering
immigrants whom the health funds had rejected for reason of age, illness,
physical disability, lack of employment, and so on. This arrangement,
implemented by the Health Ministry and the Ministry of Labor and Social
Affairs, provides full coverage including hospitalization, with the premium
based on the immigrant's monthly earnings. Six hundred persons were covered
by this program during the period in review. This did not reflect the recent
immigration wave, because most of the new arrivals were still covered under
the initial six-month arrangement.
A Ministry staff committee handled special appeals by uninsured immigrants.
Some suffered from serious illness such as malignancies or kidney failure,
for which reason the health funds rejected them. Others belonged to a health
fund but required special treatment not covered by the fund. Still others
were uninsured for reasons originating in their own behavior (negligence,
forgetfulness, not paying membership dues on time). The committee discussed
each case, considering the individual's socioeconomic circumstances and the
reason for his or her uninsured state.
Integration of Students and Young Adults: Most young-adult
immigrants are handled by the Student Administration, a body jointly run by the
Ministry and the Jewish Agency Department of Immigration and Absorption. The
administration considers it very important to maximize the enrollment of
immigrant and potential-immigrant students in universities, other
post-secondary programs, yeshivot, and one-year advanced-study programs. The
administration staff also attempts to prevent student dropout by offering
various care services and monitoring integration regularly. Services
- registering students in schools, especially when they are still
- preparing them for higher studies by enrolling them in ulpanim and/or
year-long university or post-secondary preparatory programs in the humanities,
the social and natural sciences, engineering (full and associate), teaching,
technology, and paramedical studies;
- guidance, referral, and vocational and psychological counseling;
- private for those who have learning difficulties;
- social events, cultural activities, and pro-immigration information
- financial aid to cover tuition, living expenses, and housing.
In essence, the Administration assists applicants from the time they sign up
before reaching the country, through their admission to the study program of
their choice, and during the period of their studies in Israel.
Surveys show that 60%-70% of Diaspora young adults who come to study in
Israel associate Israel with their future and choose it as their place of
residence. This is why the Administration considers it so important to
promote the immigration of other young adults.
With the recent mass immigration from the Soviet Union, the administration
has shifted its emphasis to the expansion of curricula, development of
preparatory programs in universities and other higher-education institutes,
and adjusting the financial-aid system to meet the needs of the immigrant
students, most of whom arrive with their families.
Yeshiva Department: The Department attends to the social
integration of post-secondary immigrant students attending more than 100
religious institutions, and tries to cultivate their relationship with Israel
and identification with its problems, in order to provide them with an
ideological basis for immigration in the spirit of the religious precept of
settling Eretz Yisrael. The Department organizes Sabbath retreats, seminars,
outings, information and referral sessions, and volunteer activity in border
communities and underprivileged areas. Several Torah institutions include
volunteer activity as part of the curriculum.
Information and Promotion: The administration provides
comprehensive information on study possibilities in Israel in order to attract
youth visiting the country under miscellaneous projects and programs. A staff
of polyglot former-immigrant guides accompany young adults on tours of
university and other campuses, describing their own Israel study
Returning Israelis Department: In 1985, the Ministry was
charged with stemming emigration while the handling of emigrants themselves was
transferred to Israel's consulates around the world. The head of the
consular section in every foreign mission is responsible for emigrants. The
Returning Israelis Department maintains liaison with all consulates (40 of
which are very active in this area). According to Department statistics,
half a million Israelis are resident abroad today. The consulates are
instructed to practice an open-door policy, adopt a sympathetic, welcoming
attitude to migr Israelis (as opposed to the past), and demonstrate
willingness to help. This takes the form of both outreach among Israelis
abroad and personal assistance when they return to Israel. Activities
include special programs for emigres' children (a group at high risk of
alienation); programs in schools, youth movements, and Hebrew classes; and
Tzabar, a U.S. Zionist movement that is particularly active among youth.
The consulates also help by providing detailed information on Israeli
affairs, handling the formalities connected with return, and briefing
emigres on the possibilities of re-integration in Israel. To keep the
contacts current and reliable, the Department holds yearly information
sessions for consulates, includes instructions on how to work with emigrants
in the emissaries' preparatory course, and provides consulates with
up-to-date information sheets.
The Department is also responsible for those who have already returned to
Israel, and maintains close ties with the IDF liaison unit that accommodates
them. Each Ministry district office has a section director personally
responsible for providing information, approving assistance, and giving
returning residents moral support.
Under the law, an emigre may acquire returning-resident status after two
years abroad. The Department's assistance is not meant to discriminate
against non-emigrant Israelis but to help returning residents build new
lives in Israel. Their assistance is half of that offered immigrants, is
given for one year instead of three, and includes employment aid for one
spouse rather than both.
The Information and Publications Unit, run jointly by the Ministry and the
Jewish Agency Immigration and Absorption Department, provides one of the
basic services immigrants need. The Unit gathers all information required
for the absorption process and circulates it among the relevant agencies and
the immigrants themselves. Along with providing actual and potential
immigrants with up-to-date, detailed information, the Unit produces
booklets, fact sheets, newspapers, and films intended to promote
Absorption of Ethiopian Jewry: The Ministry established a team
to expedite the permanent integration of the Ethiopian immigrants, including
permanent housing. A master plan was prepared for 55 communities around the
country, including education, employment, housing, and society, with intent to
settle these immigrants in socioeconomically strong localities. To uphold the
status of the Ethiopian community dignitaries (the kessim), these clerics
were admitted to a special program at the Machon Meir yeshiva in Jerusalem,
and after two years were accepted by all religious councils as community
leaders. In cooperation with the army, Camp Magen Tziyyon was established to
prepare Ethiopian immigrants for military service. As their satisfaction
grew, most Ethiopian immigrants preferred to volunteer for elite combat
units. Few if any have evinced discipline problems, and many have shown high
motivation to serve as commanders. Integration work among the Ethiopians was
guided by the need to preserve community cohesion. This policy was informed
by three important rules:
- dispersal in small groups to prevent alienation;
- preservation of the Ethiopian Jewish heritage; and
- sustaining of family ties and intimacy.
The Absorption Ministry, like most government ministries, maintains a
planning and research system in its area of specialization. The Planning and
Research Division draws up absorption plans for various groups of immigrants
(differentiated by origin, occupation, family status, age, and other
attributes); forecasts the scope, composition, and special traits of
immigrant groups; improves the absorption process, especially for the
present wave of Soviet immigrants; and monitors the integration of different
groups of immigrants, especially those who choose direct absorption.
The Division sponsors and conducts research and surveys, either
independently or in cooperation with other agencies that gather data and
study immigrant absorption (the Central Bureau of Statistics,
higher-education institutions, and research institutes). With the help of
all of these, the Division has collected a vast amount of data, to the great
benefit of all absorption authorities.
Computerization plays an important role in the immigrants' successful
initial integration, and the Ministry has acted vigorously to apply its
computerization plan. The goal is to streamline absorption procedures by
managing them through a central computer system, permitting immigrants to
obtain services nationwide irrespective of their place of residence, family
size, or amount of assistance.
The Ministry's computer contains an immigrant database with records of cash
payments, checks, documents, eligibility calculations, and the absorption
basket. All operations at the airport are handled via the Ministry computer
unit; all the data are stored in dedicated databases (immigrant population,
population of Israel, personal information, financial data [absorption
basket payments and so on], rent and mortgages, medical services, available
housing, jobs, labor practices, eligibility, and general information).
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IMMIGRATION FROM FORMER SOVIET UNION (F.S.U.) BY REPUBLIC 1990-1996
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