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Mrs. Meir Raps Immigration and Absorption Red Tape

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Premier Golda Meir administered a tongue lashing to immigration and absorption officials today for their alleged preoccupation with red tape that makes the integration of new immigrants an exhausting time-consuming ordeal for them. Mrs. Meir summoned the officials to her office and made it clear that she would not tolerate inefficiency and prolonged delays during which immigrants languish for hours in offices waiting to see officials and are shunted from office to office sometimes losing one or more working days.

She blamed the officials for sending new immigrants “here and there” while a problem can be solved easily when the official meets his colleague sitting just next door or on the next floor. “I should remind you that you are sitting here to serve him (the immigrant) and not the other way around,” she said. “Why is there no respect for the time of the people who come to see an official?” she asked.

Mrs. Meir stressed that immigrants arriving in Israel now, particularly from the Soviet Union, had been living for years under a repressive regime which made them nervous about officialdom. She said that when she set up the Absorption Ministry she had thought–and apparently was wrong–that all matters concerning new immigrants would be taken care of under one roof. She demanded that working hours be set to meet the needs of the people, not the officials, and that officials streamline procedures and cut red tape.

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