Ministry of Immigrant Absorption
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
*

 Ministry of Immigrant Absorption

11/18/1998

 
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)

Website: http://www.moia.gov.il/
(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 immigrants.

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 their own.

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 help.

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:

  1. freedom of choice;
  2. provision of resources;
  3. assistance at specified intervals;
  4. the influence of relatives on immigrants and their integration;
  5. the impact of Israeli society and the immigrant's exposure to everyday life.

Direct absorption promotes receptiveness in society, so that informal absorption systems providing a range of services develop alongside the formal system.

The absorption basket is intended to meet new immigrants' basic needs:

  1. initial absorption - hotel accommodation, basic expenses, and apartment-hunting;
  2. rent for the first 12 months;
  3. assistance with housing expenses (taxes, utilities, and so on);
  4. living expenses for the first half year, covering the period of Hebrew-language studies;
  5. costs of children's education;
  6. 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 authorities.

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 special care.

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 help.

Two major types of employment funds are used to subsidize immigrants' wages.

  1. 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.
  2. 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 job.

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 guidance.

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 economy.

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:

  1. social, cultural, and spiritual enrichment for immigrants during ulpan, in coordination with ulpan directors;
  2. at least two field trips to historical sites, settlements, and so on, including a mandatory trip to Jerusalem;
  3. lectures on Judaism, heritage, society, economy, geography, civics, etc.;
  4. liaison with army units that "adopt" ulpanim;
  5. 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;
  6. assistance using various information media: audio-visual programs, films, pamphlets, lectures, and special presentations on immigration and absorption.

    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 preschool programs.

    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 six months.

    The Section also assures:

    1. coordination with various agencies (health funds, National Insurance, Ministry of Health);
    2. counseling and guidance for immigrants as to their health insurance rights;
    3. instruction and guidance for caregivers and social workers regarding practice norms and methods; and
    4. updating of health practices in accordance with immigrants' changing needs.

    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 include:

    1. registering students in schools, especially when they are still overseas;
    2. 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;
    3. guidance, referral, and vocational and psychological counseling;
    4. private for those who have learning difficulties;
    5. social events, cultural activities, and pro-immigration information campaigns; and
    6. 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 experiences.

    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 immigration.

    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:

    1. dispersal in small groups to prevent alienation;
    2. preservation of the Ethiopian Jewish heritage; and
    3. 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).


    IMMIGRATION TO ISRAEL BY REGION OF ORIGIN
    YEARS19921993199419951996
    Totals77,10076,80079,80076,40070,600
    Former U.S.S.R.65,10066,10068,10064,80058,900
    Other European Countries3,9004,2004,5004,1004,200
    North America & Oceania2,2002,4002,6002,7002,600
    Latin America80080010001,5002,200
    Other5,1003,1003,6003,3002,900


    IMMIGRATION FROM FORMER SOVIET UNION (F.S.U.) BY REPUBLIC 1990-1996
    REPUBLIC 19901991199219931994 19951996TOTAL
    Russia45,500
    (25%)
    47,300
    (32%)
    24,800
    (38%)
    23,100
    (35%)
    24,600
    (36%)
    15,700
    (24%)
    16,450
    (28.3%)
    200,550
    (30.8%)
    Ukraine58,900
    (32%)
    39,800
    (27%)
    13,100
    (20%)
    12,800
    (19%)
    22,700
    (33%)
    23,600
    (36%)
    23,400
    (40.3%)
    197,900
    (30.4%)
    Belarus23,400
    (13%)
    16,000
    (11%)
    3,300
    (5%)
    2,300
    (3%)
    2,900
    (4%)
    4,200
    (6%)
    4,350
    (7.5%)
    4,350
    (7.5%)
    Moldava11,900
    (6%)
    15,400
    (10%)
    4,300
    (7%)
    2,200
    (3%)
    1,900
    (3%)
    2,400
    (4%)
    2,000
    (3.4%)
    41,600
    (6.4%)
    Baltic Republics7,400
    (4%)
    3,100
    (2%)
    1,300
    (2%)
    1,800
    (3%)
    1,200
    (2%)
    1,000
    (2%)
    1,150
    (2%)
    17,550
    (2.7%)
    Central
    Asia,
    Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia
    34,800
    (19%)
    25,800
    (17%)
    14,000
    (22%)
    18,400
    (28%)
    14,100
    (21%)
    15,500
    (24%)
    10,750
    (18.5%)
    136,150
    (20.9%)
    Unknown3,3004004,3005,5007002,40080016,700
    Total185,200
    (100%)
    147,800
    (100%)
    65,100
    (100%)
    66,100
    (100%)
    68,100
    (100%)
    64,800
    (100%)
    58,900
    (100%)
    668,000
    (100%)
 
 
 
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