One hundred children orphaned by the civil war in Syria are to be given asylum in Israel in a scheme that will grant the youngsters temporary residency for four years.

Israel's Channel 10 reported the children could then go on to be fostered in Israel or be adopted at a later stage and will be absorbed into the country's education system while being initially housed in dormitories.

Israel has been at war with Syria for decades but has taken an official position of neutrality in the Arab nation's ongoing civil war.

Under asylum plans Israel is considering special provisions to allow family members of the orphans to be reunited in the country.

Some 2,600 casualties of the war in Syria have been treated in hospitals either in Israel itself or in the occupied Golan Heights. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his government is looking at new measures to increase the extent of the assistance.

"This is a just and important decision," Itzik Shmuli, an opposition member of parliament, said in an interview with Israel Radio. "The government should be congratulated."

Millions of Syrian refugees are currently residing in neighbouring Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Israel has refused to admit Syrian refugees on an ongoing basis and critics of the resettlement programme have said the admission of the 100 refugees is little more than a gesture.

Eyal Zisser, a political science professor at Tel Aviv University, told the LA Times the scheme was intended to address public opinion. "The minister wants to show empathy and show he's doing something," he was quoted as saying. "The main issue here is that 100 is really nothing. It's to show Israel's nice face to the world and to address Israeli public opinion."