In November of 2007, the ministry launched a campaign in an attempt to bring Israelis back to the country. The initiative was launched in correlation with the country’s 60th anniversary celebrations, and those who return will be granted various perquisites.
Amongst the benefits are discounts on flights and on the shipment of belongings, a reduction on income tax in the countries from which they came, health insurance, Hebrew lessons, assistance in job placements, business loans, scholarships for researchers and scientists and facilitating in the scheduling of matriculation exams for teenagers.
The Ministry of Absorption presumed that many families that left Israel are just waiting for an opportunity to return and assumed that if they are offered assistance and paved the way for them, they would come. However, they did not expect a success of this magnitude.
According to the Ministry’s data, 2,500 Israeli citizens have returned since the campaign’s onset; an increase of 50% compared to the yearly average. An additional 4,500 Israeli citizens have already signed up and are in the process of returning.
'Bringing Israelis home is the most important goal'
In light of the data, the Ministry expects that more than 12,000 Israeli citizens will return to Israel by the end of the year. Most of the returnees are young working families. Seventy percent of them are between the ages of 20-44, 66% are families and 64% are from North America. Forty-four percent of them are academics, 38% left as a result of professional advancement and 27% are returning after living outside of Israel for less than 10 years.
A study carried out by the Ministry of Absorption shows that the old newcomers will highly contribute to the Israeli market and to the economic system, also in relation to the veteran population.
“Bringing Israelis back home is the most important national goal ahead of us in the near future,” said Immigration Absorption Minister Jacob Edery.
“The record-breaking number of returnees this year shows the success of the campaign and especially shows Israelis’ desire to return home in the presence of the basic tools needed in order to reabsorb.”
Four-hundred new immigrants from 23 countries landed Monday at the David Ben Gurion Airport as part of the 2008 Aliyah Day organized by the Jewish Agency and the Absorption Ministry.
The Olim arrived from countries including, the United States, Brazil, Argentina, England, France, Italy, Germany, Russia, Australia, South Africa and Turkey. A national ceremony at the airport was held in their honor, and was attended by Ministe Edery, Jewish Agency Chairman Zeev Bielski and Israel’s Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar.
Natasha Mozgovaya contributed to this report