JERUSALEM (Feb. 21)
Absorption Minister Yitzhak Peretz demanded Wednesday that the government revise its entire budgetary projections and provisions for immigration and absorption.
Peretz, addressing a joint session of the Knesset Finance and Aliyah committees, said the recently decided absorption budget was obsolete because of soaring Soviet immigration.
Peretz appeared before the joint session to urge additional allocations for absorption, including housing and the creation of jobs for the immigrants.
The minister, who represents the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, received broad support from the legislators.
Michael Kleiner of Likud, chairman of the Aliyah Committee, said the government would have to think in terms of a $250 million to $300 million absorption budget for this year.
Ariel Weinstein, also of Likud and a ranking member of the Finance Committee, suggested that work begin immediately on a revised budget for absorption and housing, to be available by May.
A prediction made to the joint session, that some 100,000 Soviet Jews would come to Israel this year, was reiterated to reporters in Jerusalem by a senior official in charge of aliyah.
The figure was essentially corroborated by Simcha Dinitz, chairman of the Jewish Agency and World Zionist Organization Executives.
Dinitz told the government agency coordinating body that the current rate of 7,000 Soviet immigrants a month is likely to rise to 9,000 a month as new exit routes are established.
Some 750,000 of the Soviet Union’s estimated 2.5 million Jews will seek to leave over the next 10 years, the unidentified senior official said.