Increasing assimilation and decreasing immigration to Israel describe a strategic problem that demands a systemic solution.

(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)

The reports we have heard during this meeting – about increasing assimilation, decreasing aliyah (immigration to Israel), and the growing trend to leave the country and return to the countries of origin – describe a strategic problem that demands a systemic solution.

Systemic actions by government ministries must join national efforts taking place in Israel and abroad. Some areas call for urgent attention:

In Israel, reform of the Hebrew language programs (ulpanim): A start has been made by establishing an interactive television station and a website for Hebrew language instruction. However, this must be completed so that every new immigrant will have multiple options to learn Hebrew and will be able to do so in his own free time. The ulpanim must also undergo a fundamental change in order to increase their accessibility.

Conversion: We must make the conversion process easier for new immigrants, especially since only one tenth of the immigrants are Jewish, and the rest are eligible to make aliyah according to the Law of return (statistics provided in answer to a question posed during the meeting).

Respect for cultures: Recognition of the cultures from which the immigrants come will boost their integration in Israeli society. This is not setting them apart, but rather respecting them.

Jewish and Zionist education: This must be strengthened abroad as well as in Israel. There is room for improvement in the field of Jewish, Zionist education, which should reinforce the common denominator between the various communities and the State of Israel and help the aliyah effort.