Aliyah from UK ‘to rise by 20%’
New Jewish Agency head of immigration sees Britain as a ‘strategic centre’ for settlement
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