Immigration now less popular in Israel

By Nathan Jeffay, June 23, 2011
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Almost one in five young sabra adults believes that Israel should stop welcoming new immigrants, according to a new survey.

Tel Aviv University pollster Camil Fuchs asked Israeli-born Jews aged 18-25 about their views on immigration, and asked immigrants of the same age about their integration, ahead of the Immigrant and Absorption Ministry's annual conference last week.

The state of Israel was established by immigrants, and throughout its history, governments have encouraged immigration. But 17 per cent of the Israeli-born respondents said it is time for Israel to stop "absorbing" immigrants. This term is shorthand in Israel for the government-funded process of helping them settle down, learn the language and find employment opportunities.

The poll also found that 10 per cent of Israeli-born respondents consider immigrants a "burden" and 9 per cent thought that they should live separately from the rest of the population.

"I think the figures are very disturbing," said Dr Fuchs. "There is a feeling in Israel that people want to concentrate inside, to take care of ourselves, and not be bothered with others."

But despite the growing antipathy towards immigration, most of the young immigrants surveyed said their integration was successful. Some 85 per cent said they feel "fully Israeli".

Last updated: 1:19pm, June 23 2011