The State of Israel, through the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization, will invest NIS 1,180,000 this year in encouraging immigration from Brazil in light of the constant rise in the number of immigrants from the South American country.

The money will be used, among other things, to hold preparation seminars for Brazilians planning to make Aliyah, operate Hebrew classes for new immigrants and help them find work in Israel.

During Monday`s meeting of the Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs it was revealed that in 2012 only 191 Brazilin Jews made Aliyah, while some 750 of them are expected to immigrate to Israel in the coming year.

Israel to invest more than NIS 1 million this year to encourage immigration from Brazil

(Archive photo)

MK Avraham Naguisa (Likud), chairman of the committee, called to improve the absorption of immigrants from Brazil by having Portuguese

speakers accompany them throughout the absorption process.

Michael Abadi, chairman of Beit Brasil, a nongovernmental organization based in Israel to help the Brazilians who wish to move to Israel, said the increase in immigration from Brazil was due in part to the severe economic crisis in the country and the sense of growing anti-Semitism.

Gladis Berezowsky, the director of immigrant absorption at Beit Brasil, complained about the reduction in the number of Jewish Agency emissaries in the Brazil, the insufficient number of ulpanim (institutes for the intensive study of Hebrew) and people who accompany the new immigrants at the absorption centers, and the failure to translate to Portuguese the absorption centers` announcements to the tenants. Berezowsky said dozens of Brazilian Jews approach her every day regarding the possibility of making Aliyah, and stressed that the vast majority of immigrants from Brazil only speak Portuguese.

Yehuda Scharf, director of Aliyah and Absorption at the Jewish Agency, said in response that the agency employs a full-time job placement counselor and operates a toll-free hotline to assist those who seek information about making Aliyah. Furthermore, he said, the World Zionist Organization will soon open additional ulpanim in Brazil, and the Jewish Agency will hold an Aliyah information fair in about two months` time.

Oded Feuer, representing the WZO, said the organization will soon open an additional 15 ulpanim in Brazil, and it will also recruit workers who will encourage Aliyah not only in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, but in provincial towns as well.

Ella Saban of the Absorption Ministry`s department for returning Israelis, noted that rent assistance, as well as assistance in launching business initiatives and cultural programs, will be offered to new immigrants who settle mainly in the Negev and Galilee regions.