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Minister Says Aliyah Could Rise if Government Spent More Money

If the government approved larger budgets for immigrant housing and absorption, the projected number of immigrants arriving this year could rise from 78,000 to 90,000, Absorption Minister Yair Tsaban told the Cabinet this week.

Some 513,000 immigrants have arrived in Israel during the past four years, but the rate of arrival has decreased over the last two years, mostly due to the tough unemployment situation.

Tsaban has demanded funding for specific absorption programs to create jobs for immigrants above the age of 45.

The government originally projected 120,000 immigrants for this year, but now, with half a year gone, the forecast has been modified to 78,000.

The annual number of immigrants from the former Soviet Union has dropped to around 60,000, the same number as the combined total of those going from the former Soviet Union to the United States or Germany.

Last month, 5,512 immigrants arrived here from the former Soviet Union, with another 2,846 coming to the United States under the government’s refugee program, according to the National Conference on Soviet Jewry and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society in New York.

The number of June immigrants was up slightly from May, when 4,910 Jews from the former Soviet Union entered Israel and 2,494 entered the United States.

The total number of Soviet immigrants to Israel for the first six months of the year was 30,942, up slightly from the 1992 total of 27,330 for the same six-month period.

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