Poll: Most Israelis support additional benefits for new immigrants

According to a survey conducted by the Sampling, Consultation and Research Center, a majority of Israelis endorse the idea of offering new immigrants more economic and employment benefits, even at the expense of native Israelis, in light of the alarming wave of anti-Semitism that has stricken Europe. Yaakov Hagoel, Deputy Chairman of the World Zionist Organization was scheduled to reveal the results of the survey at today’s cabinet meeting.

“In light of the concern for the safety of the Jews of Europe, we have established a committee to deal with immigration barriers and we asked to check the position of the Israeli public in this regard,” explained Deputy Chairman of the World Zionist Organization, Yaakov Hagoel.

The survey reveals that approximately two thirds of Israelis are concerned for the safety of Jews living in the Diaspora. Thirty-nine percent of Israelis believe that European Jews should escape the growing anti-Semitism in Europe by immigrating to the Jewish homeland. At the same time, 46 percent of Israelis recognize that many of their Jewish brethren in Europe continue to live on the continent for social and economic reasons.

Of noteworthy mention was the percentage of Israelis who supported granting more special benefits to new immigrants. A whopping majority of 83 percent of Israelis in the survey expressed their belief that the State of Israel should take actions in the labor market that would grant special privileges to new immigrants.

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Fifty-three percent of the survey’s respondents suggested that Israel provide financial benefits to employers who hire new immigrants. Thirty percent recommended even requiring public agencies and large private business to set a floor benchmark of employment positions for new immigrants, even though such a policy would come at the expense of the native Israeli labor force.

“The results are surprising, even to us,” commented Hagoel. “Despite the difficult economic situation in Israel, the Jews are brothers to each other in every place in the world.”

Hagoel is expected to address the need to reduce and remove the many barriers that new immigrants often experience in the employment sector. Many of the new immigrants arrive in Israel as educated professionals with experience and potential to contribute to Israel but encounter bureaucratic hurdles. They are very often not recognized in their professional field. For example, professionals such as lawyers and doctors with certifications from abroad are not automatically recognized in Israel but must instead go through a convoluted process to get certified in Israel.

Hagoel will reportedly present the establishment of a unique group of staff members in the World Zionist Organization that would aim to eliminate the unnecessary barriers faced by new immigrants.

“The Israelis are prepared to do everything—-to give up jobs for the sake of their brethren in exile,” noted Hagoel.

“There is no day more fitting than International Holocaust Memorial Day to raise this important issue to the cabinet.”