JERUSALEM (Jun. 23)
A Labor Alignment MK accused the government yesterday of favoring immigrants from the Soviet Union over Israelis of Oriental origin. Haviv Shimoni, a longtime champion of the rights of the Sephardic community, said he would vote against the coalition if it adopts a bill which would allow allegedly under-qualified dental practitioners from the USSR to practice dentistry in Israel.
Shimoni charged that the bill smells of “racism.” He said that licensing immigrant dentists by administrative means rather than requiring them to complete a professional course of study could lead to the “Levantinization of the dental profession in Israel.” Shimoni said that “For years we have been told how important it was to maintain the country’s high academic level, a campaign that actually prevented the successful absorption of Asian and African immigrants into society. Now,” he said, “when the interests of Russian immigrants are at stake, everybody is ready to look aside and forget.