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The expert is Maurice Singer, an Independent Consultant and former Senior Aliyah Consultant at the Jewish Agency. While every care and attention is made to give accurate answers, no responsibility can be taken by the writer if the information offered may prove to be misleading.
Send us your questions and please leave your comments on the Q&A below.
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Q: I finished mahal (voluntary army service) 8 months ago and returned to Canada. I'm now making aliyah and I would like to know if I can go back into the army. I'm male, 22.
A: I am not too sure I know exactly what you mean. Do you want to redo national service or just add on the difference? I don't think you will get a clear answer from the army. They will probably advise you to make aliyah first and then contact them.
Q: I'm a daughter of a non-Jewish mother and a father with a Jewish grandfather. I converted 10 years ago with Masorti [Conservative] Giur. Can I get Israeli citizenship? What about my would-be children?
A: If your Giur is recognized for the sake of aliyah (meaning it was done through a recognized official Rabbinate) then you can make aliyah according to the Law of return and become an Israeli Citizen. This however does not mean that the Orthodox Ministry of Religion will recognize you as Jewish, including your would-be offspring.
Q: I'm wondering, if my paternal grandparents were born as Jewish, and they converted because of the shadow of the holocaust, am I eligible for aliyah?
A: From the little you have told me, I would doubt if you could prove eligibility under the Law of Return
Q: I am Jewish with a Teudat Zehut [identity card] and travel document. I intended to make aliyah but never did. I received no benefits. My wife is converted reform. Are our children (no t'z/travel docs) Israeli citizens?
A: If you received a Teudat Zeut that was blue, then you are an Israeli citizen and as such your offsprings are also considered Israeli. If the ID booklet was an orange one then you were a Temporary Resident and as such your children will not be considered Israeli. Benefits have nothing to do with it. They are concessions, you either use them or lose them!
Q: My father's Jewish grandmother married a non-Jew. Her daughter was married to a non-Jew too. Does this make me the son of a Jew and am I eligible for aliyah?
A: Arguably as your great grandmother was Jewish, so her daughter (your grandmother) was Jewish and so was her daughter (your mother Jewish). So Halachically speaking you could be considered Jewish. However the law of Return does not go back that far. The bottom line is NO, you are not eligible for Aliyah
Q: If someone is diagnosed as HIV + will they be excluded from making aliyah?
Q: I made aliyah in 1983 but left after 2 years due to sickness. Do I still have 3 years on the books as an immigrant in Israel?
A: No, at best you may have the balance of some benefits, and this depends on visits to Israel since leaving. You should consult an aliyah Shaliach if there are any still left!!
Q: Can I bring any car with me to Israel when I make aliyah? Do I pay taxes on the car if I am sending a vehicle there?
A: The best advice I can give you is DON'T bring a car with you. The dos and donts and tax answers would take pages to answer. Believe me, after 40 years experience in Israel, DON'T DO IT
Q: My mother is from a US Jewish background. My father is from a UK Christian background. Both converted - albeit not through official means - to Islam before I was born. Am I still eligible for aliyah?
A: What is a "Jewish background"?
Q: My son who is Jewish by birth married a non-Jewish woman. He wants to make aliyah with her. What rights does she have? Thank you.
A: If your son is a non-Israeli then his wife will have full benefits the same as him. If he is Israeli, then she does not have benefits and will have to come on a tourist Visa
Q: I am about to return to Israel. What are my rights
A: You have the right to return !!! You may have benefits as a Returning Resident but in order to give a proper answer I need more information about you, such as 'are you an Israeli citizen?' Marital status? How long out of Israel? Visits in-between and so on.
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Q: Native-born Jewish Israeli woman has daughter in USA; daughter has Israeli passport; daughter has son born in USA and wants to acquire Israeli citizenship for him; Can child under 1 make Aliyah?
A: Although the boy has an Israeli mother and grandmother, his mother was born in the USA, hence he is second generation born outside Israel. Therefore the child does not automatically hold Israeli citizenship. If his mother decides to return to Israel, once she has established residency she can apply for her son to receive Israeli citizenship.
Q: I am considering making Aliyah.Â As a physician, I have the opportunity to continue working in the US part-time to earn an income.Â What are some of the tax issues we need to consider?
A: First and foremost, you should contact an experienced Tax Consultant knowledgeable of the tax laws of both countries.(I will be happy to give you a name if you so wish). The tax laws refer to both countries and a good tax Consultant will be able to help you make the correct plans.
Q: If I become a toshav chozer [returning resident], how long must I stay in Israel before being allowed to leave the country?
A: When is an Israeli who is domiciled abroad as a tourist in Israel and when do they become Returning Resident? The answer is 4 months in any calendar year. In other words, once you have resided in Israel for 4 months (in total not necessarily all at one time) your status as a RR is finalized.
Q: I left Israel when I was 26. Before that I worked in few places. DO I qualify for any kind of benefits at all when I come back in 3 years and will be 62?
A: The retirement age in Israel for men is 67. If you pay Bituach Leumi (National Insurance) for 5 consecutive years before retirement, then you will be eligible to receive an Israeli Government retirement pension. If you come back aged 62 you will be able to begin paying for 5 years in order to qualify.
Q: My father's parents were Jewish, but living in rural America, there were no synagogues until the last 80 years.Â How would or even could I prove this?Â Would I have to go through conversion?
A: I assume that your question re conversion is being asked in relation to you possibly wanting to make Aliyah? If you are able to successfully prove that you had a Jewish grandparent then you could apply for Aliyah under the Law of Return. In order to establish their Jewish ancestry the answer is research.e.g. How do you know that they were Jewish? Where were they buried? (I assume that they are deceased). Did they have any siblings? and so on.
Q: Can parents of a convert live permanently in Israel?
A: It depends, parents of converts are not included in the Law of Return but you may appeal to the Israeli Ministry of Interior if your parents are dependable on you. If you have siblings abroad, the Ministry will want to know whether you siblings can look after your parents.
Q: The Misrad Hapnim [Interior Ministry] is asking me to prove that my grandfather never changed religions before he died...Â How can I do this if he was cremated and never was part of any Jewish organizations?
A: Unfortunately Misrad Hapnim considers everyone guilty unless they can prove their innocence. You will have to collect evidence from any survivors who knew him that might be still be alive and prepared to sign an affidavit regarding him not changing his religion
Q: As a son of a Jewish grandfather I made aliya in 1999 with my wife and two children. They served in the army and sherut leumi. To be considered halachically Jewish we all underwent an Orthodox conversion. Now, my mother (not Jewish) is 75 years old. She was not married to my father (dead many years ago). She married a non-Jew (also already dead). No children came from this union. My only brother is also living in Israel as an immigrant. She's in the process of a Masorti Conversion (Iquitos,Peru).Â Her year of Jewish community service has been done and there's no signal ofÂ immediate aliyah. We don't want to wait too long. We would like to bring our mother as soon as possible and live with us permanently. Would that be possible? Thanks for your attention
A: Your mother is required to have a year of community activity following her conversion. This will be the easiest way although it means waiting for an extra year. Alternatively you could bring her here but she would only be a tourist and I wouldn't recommend this especially as she will not have medical coverage.
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