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Knesset lobby to promote Western aliya

March 7, 2008. Jerusalem Post: Haviv Rettig

A new lobby in the Knesset to improve the absorption of immigrants from Western countries will be founded by MKs Gilad Erdan (Likud) and Yoel Hasson (Kadima) on Tuesday.

"There are special issues that olim from the West need to deal with, and we want to make sure that the State of Israel is prepared to help them," Hasson told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

Tuesday's meeting at the Knesset will be attended by representatives of the Jewish Agency and independent aliya organizations Nefesh B'Nefesh and AMI, as well as Immigrant Absorption Minister Ya'acov Edri (Kadima) and individuals interested in increasing aliya.

Between 40 percent and 45% of the world's Jews reside in the United States, and together the US, France and Britain contain around 90% of Diaspora Jewry.

This demographic reality has led the government to seek new ways to encourage so-called "aliya by choice."

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