Itongadol.- The Knesset Committee for Aliyah and Absorption has allocated NIS 1.18 million to encourage the immigration of Brazilian Jews to Israel.
Only 191 Brazilian Jews moved to Israel last year, while 750 of them are expected to arrive by the end of 2016. Brazilian olim form the seventh largest group of immigrants to Israel.
The money will go towards a variety of programs and initiatives aimed at addressing common problems that Brazilians face after having immigrated to Israel.
In addition, the funds will go towards increasing the number of Jewish Agency representatives in Brazil to encourage aliyah, providing preparatory aliyah seminars, and finding full-time employment for new immigrants prior to their move to Israel.
Additional emphasis will also be placed on preparing prospective students for the psychometric exams required by Israeli universities, and on increasing the number of Hebrew courses in Brazil.
Likud MK Avraham Naguisa, who chairs the committee, called to increase the number of Portuguese speakers available to guide Brazilian Jews who make aliyah and assist them once they move to Israel.
Gladys Berezowsky, manager of the Beit Brasil (Brazil House) organization, highlighted the lack of availability of documents translated to Portuguese from the absorption centers. Berezowsky said that dozens of applications are received daily from people who are interested in making aliyah of whom the vast majority only speak Portuguese.
Bruna Drazin, who moved to Israel in 2011 from northern Brazil, told Tazpit Press Service (TPS) that while she already spoke English, many Brazilians struggle upon their arrival in Israel due to the language barrier.
“Everything can be hard. Almost all the websites you have are in English and Hebrew and sometimes Spanish, but never Portuguese. Some people think that Spanish is the same, but it really is not. There are many people from Brazil who cannot even read Spanish,” Drazin said.
“It can really be a problem when you come here because you do not have any support here in Portuguese,” she added.
Zionist Federation representative Oded Foyer said that around fifteen Hebrew language classes will be opened in Brazil while more teachers will be trained.
“Hebrew was a problem for me when I came to Israel. I never thought about creating more Hebrew language classes in Brazil, but it could be a good idea. You leave your profession when you move here and you don’t have the language at all,” Drazin told TPS.
Foyer said that the efforts to encourage aliyah will not be restricted to the large cities – Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, but will be made in rural areas as well.