Study Shows Most Immigrants Decide to Stay Permanently in Israel

An Absorption Ministry study has found that most immigrants are satisfactorily employed and housed and have decided to stay in Israel permanently. Their Hebrew, however, remains poor. The findings, released yesterday, were based on a survey of 595 immigrants who arrived between September and December, 1969. They were interviewed two months after their arrival and again after six months’ and after 12 months’ residence. During the period December, 1969, to December, 1970, only 8, 7 percent returned to their country of origin, most of them in the second half of that period. Close to 85 percent said in all three interviews that they were determined to settle permanently. Seventy-nine percent of the immigrants were living in permanent housing after one year, compared with 49 percent after two months and 63 percent after six months. Fifty-five percent joined the labor force, mostly in industry, and 72 percent of those employed said they were satisfied with their jobs.

Two areas of deficiency noted in the Absorption Ministry study were the new arrivals’ lack of knowledge of Hebrew and lack of contact with native Israelis or veteran immigrants. After one year only 35 percent of the immigrants interviewed said they could converse fluently in Hebrew, while 31 percent said they could not participate in a simple dialogue in Hebrew. Only 24 percent claimed to have frequent or very frequent social contacts with veteran immigrants after one year, while 48 percent said they had only sporadic contacts or none at all. The survey was made for the Absorption Ministry by the Central Bureau of Statistics and the Institute of Applied Social Research.

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