Ministers approve emergency housing aid for new immigrants fleeing Ukraine

The cabinet on Sunday approved a plan to provide emergency rental assistance to new immigrants from Ukraine and other former Soviet countries following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February.

The government plan will provide NIS 2,300 ($714) in housing assistance per month for one year to individuals, NIS 2,900 to couples with up to two children and NIS 3,400 to families with three or more children.

The plans were announced by the Ministries of Finance, Immigration and Absorption, and Housing in a joint statement.

Immigrants will not need to show a tenancy agreement to claim benefits.

The benefits are reserved for immigrants eligible for citizenship, not all refugees.

The plan was proposed by Immigration and Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata, Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman and Housing Minister Ze’ev Elkin as part of the government’s preparations for an expected wave of dozens of thousands of immigrants from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus due to the war.

“Most immigrants flee the war in Ukraine and arrive after a difficult journey, forced to leave behind all their belongings and money,” Tamano-Shata said. “As a government, we are committed to helping them and making it as easy as possible for them.”

This financial assistance will be granted regardless of income and in addition to the six-month financial package provided to each new immigrant, which ranges between NIS 2,700 and NIS 6,400 ($840 – $2,000) per month, as well as additional aid given to immigrant refugees which ranges between NIS 6,000 and NIS 15,000 ($1,860 to $4,600) per month, according to the release.

The ministries expressed the hope that the aid program will significantly increase the income available to new immigrants and facilitate their rapid and effective absorption into Israeli society.

Immigration and Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata attends a press conference at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv on April 4, 2022. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Liberman said the decision “symbolizes the essence of Zionism and the mutual responsibility upon which the State of Israel was established – to be a home for all Jews in the world.”

“We are committed to every Jew who wants to come and build their life in Israel, at any time,” Elkin said in the statement. “Now much more, when their lives are in danger.”

The Jewish Agency said last week it had processed more than 10,000 immigrants from Ukraine and Russia since the war began, and had received more than 30,000 calls asking for immigration information. in Israel.

When Russia first launched its invasion, a handful of immigration flights reached Israel each week. This quickly grew to at least one a day, bringing in around 150 immigrants each time. Today, several hundred new immigrants arrive in Israel every day, according to the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption.

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