By LIDAR GRAVÉ-LAZI
Plan includes establishment of an inter-ministerial committee, chaired by Director General of the Immigrant Absorption Ministry Oded Forer.
Ethiopian-Israelis protesting against discrimination outside the Prime Minister’s Residence Photo: URI LENZ / FLASH 90
The government on Sunday announced a new plan aimed at optimizing the integration of Ethiopian immigrants into Israeli society.
“Today we begin a new path,” Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver said in a statement.
“We are putting everything on the table in a novel and unique process. We intend to include the general public and the Ethiopian immigrants in particular in the formulation of a new multi-disciplinary policy and to take care that this policy is in fact implemented.”
The new plan calls for the establishment of an interministerial committee chaired by Oded Forer, director general of the Immigrant Absorption Ministry, and seven subcommittees made up of representatives of relevant ministries that will address such issues as education, economics, internal security, army, housing, welfare and health. There will also be an Internet forum offering the public real-time access to the latest developments on new policy.
“I invite everyone to take part, to participate in round-table discussions through the website and to influence things,” added Landver.
According to the ministry statement, this marks the first time the government intends to allow NGOs and private citizens to become more actively involved in policy planning decision-making on a national level. The process will be based on the “value of transparency and public participation for leveraging resources and making informed choices of objectives,” the ministry said.
The Israel Association for Ethiopian Jews (IAEJ) released a statement last week ahead of the government decision, harshly criticizing the efforts to date by the Immigrant Absorption Ministry regarding Ethiopian olim.
“The Israel Association for Ethiopian Jews vehemently opposes the government’s decision regarding the management of formulation of the plan by the Immigrant Absorption Ministry,” the statement said.
“The Immigrant Absorption Ministry will not receive a mandate for Ethiopian immigrants. Period.”