New Knesset group to address difficulties faced by Anglo olim


There is a perception among Jews from the English-speaking world that living in Israel is difficult. But a new group in the Knesset is looking to change that with the launch on Tuesday of a caucus specifically intended to support English-speaking Olim.

Rabbi Dov Lipman, former MK for Yesh Atid, has been a driving force behind the new body, which has been created to address some of the key frustrations facing “Anglos”.

In an interview with the Israel Broadcast Authority’s English-language channel, Rabbi Lipman said that the widely-held view of Anglo-immigrants as being very successful meant “there’s no effort made to deal with some very real problems facing this community, issues such as driver’s licence renewal, double taxation, social security and professional licences.”

Although these are problems which affect all foreign-language immigrants, Rabbi Lipman continued, “there actually happen to be lobbies or caucuses for groups” speaking other languages.

Anglos have complained of protracted battles with a stubborn bureaucracy, of taxation-related woes and health-insurance struggles. However, the number of people making aliyah from English-speaking countries is fairly small: 70 per cent of those making aliyah last year came from France, Russia and Ukraine.

There may be many reasons why there might be fewer olim from English-speaking countries, but Rabbi Lipman says: “If we go out of our way to remove some of the obstacles, make things even better for people – especially younger olim – that could trigger greater numbers.”

Avi Mayer, spokesman for the Jewish Agency, said that the organisation “welcomed” the formation of the new caucus, saying: “We applaud any parliamentary initiative to strengthen connections between Jews born in Israel and those born abroad and to ease the integration of Israel’s newest citizens.

“We look forward to partnering with the new caucus in our joint mission of ensuring that new immigrants to Israel are welcomed home in the most comprehensive manner possible.”

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