Tuesday, October 24, in the Knesset, a solemn meeting of the Commission on the questions of aliyah and immigrant absorption dedicated to the Day of aliyah. The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Radio «Kahn Beth» said Binyamin Netanyahu in his speech mentioned about his meetings with Putin and made Russia the agreement on pensions to immigrants from the former Soviet Union, he was interrupted by the Deputy from party «the Zionist camp» Xenia Svetlov, demanding from him the answer to the question: whether he considers sufficient allowance 31 shekel that was «Russian» retirees in Israel.
The website «Maariv» writes that the Chairman of the Commission Abraham Nagosa Svetlov asked to refrain from comments and not to spoil the festive meeting. But then, Netanyahu turned to the Chairman of the Commission with a request not to stand up: «Let those unhappy with a little work…»
At the request of the website NEWSru.co.il comment on the altercation with the head of the government Ksenia Svetlova said: «When the head of the government comes to the Commission on is more scarlet also than absorption, he should not count on grateful bows and applause, not responding to any serious question. When our Prime Minister began to talk about solving the pension problems of the returnees, I could not ask about the merits of his government in this area. I wanted to know whether he thinks that 31 shekel a month, which was received by pensioners — are a achievement. Pensions from Russia are great, but the Prime Minister of Israel and he needs to take care of elderly immigrants from the CIS countries, especially that of a pension from Russia rely not all elderly immigrants from the CIS countries. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister, my question was not answered».
Ksenia Svetlova on YouTube posted a 30-second clip from this session, where you can see how the head of government of the jokes from the serious issue.
Speech by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a meeting of the parliamentary Committee on aliyah and immigrant absorption (transcript of the speech courtesy of the press service of the head of government):
«Mass repatriation from the first days of existence of the state was a powerful factor in the absorption. Since 1948 the Jewish population of 650 thousand people, has doubled, and in some years has reached 1.3 million. It took the extraordinary efforts of the entire nation in conditions of deprivation and disasters. Our GNP was tiny, he was about two per cent of the current even less. In a short time it was necessary to absorb twice as many people. So, these efforts were very high, much has been done. Of course, mistakes were made, otherwise could not be. But in General we coped well with this task. Aliya survivors from Europe, aliyah from Islamic countries, these two large flow of immigrants gave a strong additional force to the small state of Israel in land development, in security, in economic development, in diversity of culture.
At the same time, we never stopped fighting in the name of Jews in distress, deprived of the right to leave, on their return to Israel. In the end, a close contest under the slogan «Let my people go!» has borne fruit.
I had the honor to participate in this struggle, to contribute to these important wave of immigration both from the former Soviet Union and from Ethiopia. As a delegate of Israel in Washington, and then as Ambassador to the UN, I participated in serious international struggle for the issuance of permits for Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union. A very important role in this struggle played by the United States is the main lever of pressure on the Soviet Union. But you have to understand that there was a struggle and there because the American administration is very sympathetic to the Soviet Jews, and wanted to allow them to leave as refugees in the United States. But we said they are not refugees, they have a house, the house and this house — the state of Israel. Thus ended the struggle that radically changed the country from a demographic, economic, technological and many others.
Recently I had the great honor to work with President Putin to ensure the provision of pensions to immigrants from the former Soviet Union, who worked in Russia before coming to Israel. We have several times discussed this issue, and ultimately the agreement was reached, and I think that’s fair. As Prime Minister, I have promoted several waves of repatriation of the Ethiopian community. I also run an inter-Ministerial Commission, making a very significant and systematic effort needed to integrate Ethiopian immigrants into Israeli society. I have to say that this is a sacred mission, and so I spend much of my time. But perhaps most important is the performance of ministries of the Commission’s decisions.
In recent years significant changes in relation to the reasons for repatriation. Earlier, apart from Zionist intentions, which have always been dominant, there were other motives, as many sought to come to Israel because of the dire situation in the countries of origin, that is, they were bad there. Today, many come because they like it here. The power of the state, outstanding achievements in the field of Economics, technological innovation, stunning scope and scale that we see around us, all this makes Israel a strong magnet, attracting tens of thousands of immigrants from all over the world — from France, Russia, Ukraine, Latin America, and, I must tell you, and from North America. They come to Israel, as it is an advanced country, not a developing and a developed nation. Our GNP per capita is gradually overtaking the Pacific region. We are still behind France, but according to my calculations, we will reduce this gap.
The government will continue to invest in the promotion of repatriation and the creation of necessary conditions for absorption. We are working to remove professional barriers, which will facilitate obtaining licenses to work for the repatriates sought-after professions, will ensure the possibility of living in the country and strengthen their economic position.
I think that alia has a very, very deep meaning. It is the dream of reunification of all Jews in the land of Israel, where they can walk everywhere with my head held high where they can see many historical monuments and know that it’s ours, it’s part of our history, part of our land where we wanted to go home. No matter where you come from – from the expanses of Siberia or the deserts of Ethiopia. The tribes of Israel, preserving the memory of Zion, in spite of endless difficulties, kept endless devotion to the idea of the return to Zion, and we continue it here. It is a great privilege. So your job at the Commission, a Holy thing, worthy of all praise».
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