Aliyah from UK ‘to rise by 20%’

New Jewish Agency head of im­mi­gra­tion sees Bri­tain as a ‘strate­gic cen­tre’ for set­tle­ment

The Jewish Chronicle - - HOME NEWS - BY BERNARD JOSEPHS

A BIG rise in aliyah from Bri­tain for the sec­ond year in suc­ces­sion has been fore­cast by Oded Sala­mon, the Jewish Agency’s new head of im­mi­gra­tion and ab­sorp­tion.

Mr Sala­mon be­lieves that an in­crease of 20 per cent in the num­ber of Bri­tish Jews mov­ing to Is­rael is likely over the next 12 months. This fol­lows a 50 per cent rise last year, when 741 peo­ple made aliyah, com­pared with 481 in 2005.

The fig­ures and the fore­cast were “very im­pres­sive”, ac­cord­ing to Mr Sala­mon, who has been in his job for just three months, hav­ing joined the Agency af­ter 20 years in the busi­ness world. Bri­tain, he said, had great po­ten­tial as a “strate­gic cen­tre” for west­ern im­mi­gra­tion to Is­rael. Recog­nis­ing that aliyah could be a daunt­ing prospect, Mr Sala­mon, who has been spread­ing the mes­sage in a visit to the UK over the past week, said he was in­tro­duc­ing a three-year plan to ease the process and give im­mi­grants a “soft land­ing.”

This would in­clude iden­ti­fy­ing the tar­get au­di­ence and tak­ing closer ac­count of their key needs, prior to ar­rival in Is­rael. Th­ese would in­clude in­ten­sive He­brew cour­ses, con­tacts with po­ten­tial em­ploy­ers and schools, as well as help with the search for suit­able hous­ing.

“What we are look­ing at is the build­ing of a to­tal ab­sorp­tion pack­age, us­ing the in­ter­net to match olim with the op­tions they have, and en­cour­ag­ing them to keep in touch with us on a day to day ba­sis. We will also in­volve the Min­istry of Ab­sorp­tion and or­gan­i­sa­tions of vet­eran olim.”

Mr Sala­mon de­scribed his task as “a mis­sion”.

He told the JC: “I re­alised as I came to the mid­dle years of my life that I wanted more than just car­ing about share­hold­ers and putting my salary in the bank at the end of the month. I wanted an ad­ven­ture, to use my busi­ness skills to help oth­ers, and make a con­tri­bu­tion to my coun­try.”

Oded Sala­mon hopes to ease im­mi­grants’ ar­rival in Is­rael

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