In recent years, two organizations engaged in aliyah – Nefesh B'Nefesh, which brings olim from North America and the UK and AMI (Aliyah Meilleur Integration), which operates in France, have been struggling to get direct funding from the State of Israel.
Until now, the two groups have received partial funding for their activities through the Jewish Agency, but they now seek to separate entirely from the Agency and become completely independent.
According to AMI and Nefesh B'Nefesh, their operations were a lot more efficient than the Jewish Agency's and they were behind the immigration to Israel of some 25% of olim in recent years, most of them brought to the country in specially chartered flights.
Jewish Agency officials rejected the claims, and said that the groups employed a selective policy towards applicants for aliyah.
Following the cabinet's decision, the groups will be granted direct and steady funding of about $1,000 per immigrant, so long as they adhere to standards set by the government.
Nefesh B'Nefesh Chairman Tony Gelbert said he "welcomed the government for its important, historical decision that sets the issue of aliyah at the top of the national priorities.
"We are convinced that this decision will significantly contribute to increasing aliyah to Israel in the coming years. Nefesh B'Nefesh is grateful for this show of confidence by the Israeli government, and will keep to operate vigorously to promote aliyah to Israel and the realization of the Zionist dream."