GENEVA (Jun. 18)
Israel and the Soviet Union have agreed to meet at a future date to discuss the problem of social security payments due to the thousands of Soviet Jews who have emigrated to Israel, a Soviet official informed the Jewish Telegraphic Agency here.
Valery Paulman, the Soviet vice minister for work and welfare, told JTA that he had discussed the matter with Menahem Porush, Israel’s deputy minister of labor and social affairs, and the two had agreed that their respective ministries would set up committees to discuss the problem.
Both officials are attending the International Labor Organization’s General Assembly at U.N. headquarters here.
Porush raised the issue in his address to the assembly. Nothing that Israel is among the countries that have social security programs, he said it faces the problem of what to do about the benefits accumulated by Soviet Jewish olim Jews during their years of work in the Soviet Union.
He said Israel is already spending $350 million annually on unemployment insurance.
Israel currently has 125,000 persons unemployed, and the current influx of immigrants is expected to raise that figure to 260,000, said Porush. But, he added, despite the growing rate of joblessness among Israelis, 120,000 Palestinian laborers from the administered territories are currently working in Israel.
“We do that gladly, even if it takes work away from Israelis,” he said.
He also spoke of job-training programs. “We are now making great efforts to train people, and I would like to say that training for us is an overriding principle,” the deputy minister said.
“To teach a man and to train him is to prevent him from stealing. We are working constantly, and this year we expect 50,000 people will be trained for construction jobs.
“Among those who are trained for this work, there are Arabs — about 2,000 younger people and over 2,000 older ones,” Porush added.