Jerusalem (Dec. 1)
The outgoing director general of the Absorption Ministry, Azriel Waldman, has publicly proposed that processing of would-be immigrants abroad should be handled by Israeli government diplomats (consuls) and no longer by Jewish Agency emissaries.
Waldman’s proposal was immediately attacked by WZO/Agency chairman, Leon Dulzin who branded it “anti-Zionist.” Dulzin said it had been raised periodically in the past, but it ignored the special status of the WZO in Jewish affairs.
In media interviews this week, Waldman said this would be the normal and natural situation. He cited Canada as an example of a land of immigration whose embassies around the world had special sections for handling would-be immigrants.
There was no need for immigrant-handling to be done in a “non-state” way or “under the table,” Waldman said. He said World Zionist Organization emissaries and Jewish Agency emissaries could devote all of their efforts to encouraging aliya, leaving the actual processing of would-be olim to the government.
Waldman reasoned that if government officials (instead of WZO/Agency emissaries) were responsible for handling olim, there would be closer coordination with the government departments back home which deal with the olim once they actually arrive here.
In this way, he said, there would be fewer unfounded promises and recommendations made to would-be olim which are afterwards not honored or fail to materialize. Waldman is leaving the Ministry of Absorption at the end of the year after three-and-a-half years as its top civil servant.