Gadera mayor rejects more Ethiopian Olim

The head of Gadera local council, Eliyahu Radia, recently informed the Ministries of Absorption and Housing that will not absorb another group of new immigrants from Ethiopia. Radia told the ministries that even if the immigrants are granted larger mortgages to buy apartments in the town on the private market, he will refuse their children in the local school system.

Speaking to Ha’aretz yesterday, Radia said 13 percent of the town’s population are immigrants from Ethiopia, “the highest percentage after us is Rehovot where only five percent of the immigrants are from Ethiopia.”

Gadera was recently included in a list of towns where mortgages will be provided for Ethiopian immigrants still living in caravans to buy homes. “Twenty percent of our student population is Ethiopian immigrants, with up to 30 percent in the state-sponsored religious schools. Even if we are given greater budgets, we simply cannot absorb any more immigrants.”

Radia rejected a recently made proposal by the Education Ministry for the immigrants to live in the town but have their children bused to school elsewhere.

“Even with such an arrangement, all the informal education activities and after-school hours that are provided for pupils will become our responsibility,” the mayor said.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Absorption, Benny Ben-Ami, said, “the ministry is not encouraging immigrants specifically to move to Gadera. From our point of view, we placed Gadera in Second place, not first choice, in our plan for mortgage assistance, in order to encourage immigrants to move to other places. However, the immigrants buy apartments based on their own choices and we cannot interfere.”

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