Israel ends special aid to immigrants from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus

It’s about customization. This was paid in addition to the standard “absorption basket” for those arriving from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus from 24 February – 2300 shekels ($690) per month for single repatriates, 2900 and 3400 shekels for families with two and three children. (respectively $870 and $1020). These are people who did not have time to prepare for immigration and arrived without assets, the special assistance decree explains.

Those who repatriated from February 24 to August 1 were entitled to payment within 12 months, the rest – until the end of 2022. The new government of Benjamin Netanyahu, formed after the November elections, decided not to renew the program. “The eligibility period to receive an adaptation allowance (“manak istaglut”) expired on 12/31/2022,” said the Ministry of Aliyah. For those who received a repatriation status before the end of 2022, the ministry’s “The allowance will be paid in accordance with the temporary decree”. Thus, the validity of which expired on December 31 and was not extended, the founder and managing partner of Kovalenko and Partners, the Commission on Immigration Law at the Israeli Chamber of Lawyers Chairman Alexey Kovalenko clarifies: “That is, even the payments for which they were kept.”

Official Version: It’s about the money. The Finance Ministry claims that no funds have been allocated for the allowance due to the expansion of the 2022 budget, the absorption ministry claims: “The integration allowance can be renewed only after the adoption of the state budget – in May, says the Knesset website. Kovalenko recalls that the previous Finance Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, promised funding for a special assistance program. “The ministry has decided to suspend the aid. The State of Israel actually declares that it is not interested in integrating repatriates,” Oded Forer, chairman of the Committee on Aliyah, Absorption and Diaspora of the Knesset, is furious.

According to him, last year about ¾ of repatriates came to Israel from war zones (Israel includes, in particular, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus). In January–November, according to the Ministry of Aliyah, about 70,000 repatriates arrived in the country, most of them from Russia (37,364) and Ukraine (14,680), with Belarus in fifth place (1993) – a total of over 54,000 people. Not everyone stayed in Israel. The Ministry of Finance estimates an increase in adaptation subsidies for immigrants to around NIS 300 million in 2022. Many new repatriates did not receive payments in December (the Ministry of Aliyah blamed technical glitches).

“Many came with just a suitcase, many did not have time to pick up money and then could not transfer: banks were afraid to deal with transfers from Russia,” says Kovalenko. The decision to cancel the program was made by government decree, it can be canceled just like that and payments can be resumed, but this is only the beginning, he believes: “Many innovations in immigration matters Are being prepared: abolition of emergency repatriation , etc. countries in the Middle East. It is important for religious parties that the repatriates be Halakhic Jews (by mother), and many non-Halakhic Jews come from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Kovalenko Of course, Israel will remain a secular state, he said, recommending that those wishing to repatriate should do so as soon as possible before the rules become stricter.

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