(JNS.org) The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) praised the Israeli government for its increase in aid to Venezuelan Jewish immigrants who recently fled the South American country’s rampant violence and instability.
Israel’s Ministry of Immigration and Absorption announced an increase in aid every six months to Venezuelan olim (immigrants) by an additional $4,170 per family and $1,668 per single person. In total, the benefits now amount to $9,700 for couples; $8,200 for single-parent families; $5,100 for singles; $3,000 for children up to age 4; $2,200 for children ages 4-18; and $2,600 for immigrants ages 18-21.
“We are profoundly grateful to the Minister of Aliyah and Absorption Sofa Landver for agreeing to increase this critical support for these new olim,” said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of The Fellowship. “This additional aid will go a long way toward helping the Jews of Venezuela as they begin new lives in Israel and incentivize others to come on aliyah as well.”
The Fellowship said it provides $800 per adult and $400 per child on top of the Israeli government’s support for the immigrants. Additionally, the group conducts follow-up visits to assist families with needs such as food, appliances, furniture, day care, vocational training and dental care.
In late July, 26 Venezuelan Jews arrived in Israel. An additional 138 Venezuelan Jews have made aliyah during the last 18 months. The South American nation has recently been rocked by political upheaval and violence as President Nicholas Maduro has destroyed the country’s remaining democratic institutions and economy, essentially establishing himself as a dictator. The oil-rich country has seen skyrocketing murder rates, nearly continuous anti-government protests, and widespread food and medicine shortages. Around 10,000 Jews are believed to remain in the once-prosperous country.