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New Mission for Youth Aliya: to Re-absorb Children of Yordim

Youth Aliya has embarked on a new mission-there-absorption in Israel of the children of yordim, Israelis who have settled abroad. Yosef Klarman, head of the Jewish Agency’s Youth Aliya department disclosed at a press conference here that he has instructed its emissaries to encourage yordim who are considering returning to Israel to send their children here immediately, even if the parents are not yet ready to return.

“Youth Aliya will now absorb whatever number of children will come and there will be no budgetary limitations,” Klarman said. The Jewish Agency official, who just returned from a visit to the United States, estimated the number of children of yordim at about 60,000 out of some 300,000 former Israelis living in the U.S.

According to Klarman, about 80 percent of yordim children do not receive any Jewish education. Most of the yordim cannot afford to send their children to a Jewish school even if they want to, he said. They attend public schools. He said he met children of Israelis parents who were unable to read or write Hebrew.

Klarman said that yordim who want to send their children to Israel but cannot afford to would receive assistance from Youth Aliya to cover travel expenses, board and education in Israel. He proposed as a first step that Youth Aliya organize a nucleus of 10 families which would send their children to Israel. He believes that the families would follow and the movement would widen into a general return of yordim.

CITES LACK OF COOPERATION

Klarman claimed that the yordim problem stemmed from lack of cooperation on the part of the Israeli establishment to encourage their return. He said that even yordim who wanted to return were discouraged by representatives of the Jewish Agency and Israeli Consulates. Youth Aliya served some 18,000 students this year, of whom 16,000 were from underprivileged families. “If they had not been absorbed by Youth Aliya they would not have been absorbed by any educational framework in Israel,” he said.

Youth Aliya has extended educational services to settled Israelis as well as to immigrants. It has absorbed about 12,000 youths since 1972 and, according to Klarman, another 10,000 will be absorbed in the next four years.

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