JERUSALEM (Jun. 20)
An offer of jobs convinced about 100 Soviet Jewish emigrants waiting for U.S. visas in Italy to come to Israel instead, the Jewish Agency for Israel reported Tuesday.
It said seven of them are already in the country and 18 more were due to arrive Tuesday evening on an El Al flight from Rome. The rest were expected to arrive shortly.
Their change of plans was the first tangible result of a joint project by the Israel Manufacturers Association and the Jewish Agency’s Department of Immigration and Absorption.
Ron Fruchtman, director of the association’s industrial management department, recently spent eight days with Soviet Jews in transit in Italy.
He told a news conference here that emigres who were promised jobs in the textile industry recruited other emigrant textile workers, with whom the Israelis had not made contact.
Altogether, 1,300 job offers were made to the Soviet Jews. That figure raised eyebrows here, considering that unemployment in Israel has reached a new high of 120,000 people.
But the manufacturers hope Soviet Jews will replace foreign workers and Palestinians from the administered territories who hold jobs in Israel.