Thursday, June 5, 2008

Jewish Agency Offers New Incentives to Western Olim


The Jewish Agency refused to recruit for Aliyah from religious Jews or from Jews in America and Canada. They decided it was easier to bring non-Jews from the FSU to Israel. To fill the gap, Nefesh b'Nefesh started answering demand and helping religious Western Olim.

What do you know? Nefesh b'Nefesh was successful, The Jewish Agency . . . not so much.

But something good has come from this: Competition!

With competition came better ways of doing things and learning what was important to Olim to make them take that step to move to Israel.

Temporary Residency-- "trying on" Israeli citizenship--is one of those things which has long been promised and now, it appears, has been rolled out for everyone who wants to try it.

Last update - 04:14 05/06/2008
New plan to offer tax breaks to Western immigrants
By Anshel Pfeffer

A new program will offer Jews from Western countries tax breaks and other accommodations, as incentives to immigrate to Israel.

The program, proposed by the Jewish Agency and the Absorption and Interior ministries, will offer new Jewish immigrants temporary residency status, and would exempt them from most taxes and national service for several years. Immigrants who continue to run businesses abroad also will receive tax exemptions.

The proposal is part of the Jewish Agency's attempt to compete with private aliyah organizations such as Nefesh B'Nefesh, which assists North American and British Jews with housing and job hunting.

The Jewish Agency saw its funds drop drastically due to the dollar's plunge against the shekel, since donations by U.S. philanthropists constitute a considerable part of its budget.

In addition, major Jewish American donors have become less willing to contribute to the Jewish Agency's general fund, instead opting to donate to their pet projects through private funds. The organization's attempt to find new sources of income, through cooperation with Russian-Israeli financier Arcadi Gaydamak last year and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews this year, ran aground due to differences of opinion over control of the funds.

In order to balance its budget, the Agency has had to reform its aliyah encouragement setup. As a consequence, dozens of Jewish Agency emissary positions have been cut. Jewish Agency officials hope that a new global information center will take the place of foreign emissaries in providing information to potential immigrants.

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