TEL AVIV (Sep. 23)
Absorption Ministry officials worked late Saturday night and throughout the day Sunday processing nearly 3,000 immigrants from the Soviet Union who arrived in Israel over the long Rosh Hashanah weekend.
About 2,000 landed at Ben-Gurion Airport during the holiday itself, and another 1,000 arrived Saturday.
The backlog developed because the Absorption Ministry, headed by the strictly Orthodox Yitzhak Peretz, would not register the new arrivals on the holiday or the Sabbath.
That they arrived at all was due to the insistence of Jewish Agency Chairman Simcha Dinitz. Citing the security risk if they were forced to wait out the holiday at transit camps in Eastern Europe, he obtained Peretz’s assent to bring them to Israel without delay.
Dinitz visited many of the immigrants over the holiday. He expressed dismay that the construction of thousands of homes for immigrants has not begun, though orders have gone out.