Sunday, March 27, 2011

Israel to approve aid plan for Tunisian Jews

At the annual Lag La'omer pilgrimage to the Griba synagogue, Djerba

The Israeli government is expected to approve today an NIS 825,000 million program to help Tunisian Jews immigrating to Israel following the revolution there. The Jerusalem Post has the story:

The measure will be discussed at the weekly cabinet meeting and comes, according to background material provided the ministers, against the background of the recent revolution that has lead to an “Islamization of the government and an increase of anti-Semitism.”

Some 1,500 Jews currently live in Tunisia: 900 on the island of Djerba, and another 600 in Tunis.

Explaining the need for enhanced economic aid to the immigrants, the background material said that “as a result of the revolution, there is a very difficult economic situation in Tunisia, and the value of the local currency, the dinar, has significantly lost value. Most of Tunisia’s Jews come from the middle or lower economic classes without assets. Even those with assets have lost the value of those assets. As a result of the revolution and the economic crisis, there is no opportunity to sell those assets.”

Furthermore, it was pointed out that there is a $3,000 limit on how much money anyone can take out of the country.

The aid package calls for a NIS 15,000 grant in two installments for each family for their first seven months in the country, and an additional NIS 18,000 that will be paid in two payments from their 13th to 24th month in Israel. The cost of the program will be split evenly between the government and the Jewish Agency.

Some 25 families are expected in the first stage of the project.

Read article in full

JTA article

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