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Program Proposed to Encourage Soviet Engineers to Stay in Israel

The Association of Engineers and Architects in Israel is proposing a $100 million program to establish jobs for the estimated 120,000 engineers expected to immigrate here from the Soviet Union.

The goal is to deter emigres from leaving the country in pursuit of more lucrative jobs abroad.

At least 80 percent of highly skilled Soviet olim would not find jobs in their profession in Israel under existing circumstances, according to Shmuel Sorek, association chairman.

He said the figure of 120,000 based on the expectation that over 1 million Soviet Jews will immigrate here in the next five years, is triple the number of engineers presently in Israel.

Many of the newcomers were trained and are experienced in branches of engineering not found in Israel. They will have to be retrained, Sorek said.

He said that “head-hunters,” or recruiters, mainly from the United States, are already in Israel trying to hire qualified engineers and other specialists unable to find jobs here.

In order to keep the Soviet Jews from leaving, Israel will have to offer higher-than-average salaries, Sorek said. But the association would make that inducement conditional on improved productivity.

The association also called for the establishment of “engineering centers” where groups of new immigrant engineers and scientists would be encouraged to develop state-of-the-art products and designs for sale abroad.

The association estimates the cost of its program in excess of $100 million.

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