Aliya experts: Renewing Israeli passports

Vol LXIII: I am an Israeli who left Israel when I was very young. I haven't been back for 18 years. When I went to renew my passport, I was denied a full one and they wanted to issue a temporary passport valid for one year. What should I do?

By MAURICE SINGER
February 17, 2008 14:50
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The expert is Maurice Singer, 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 or the Jewish Agency if the information offered may prove to be misleading. Send us your questions.

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  • For Vols LIX to LXI click here * * * Vol LXIII Q: I am a 36 year old real estate appraiser with a child. I was born in Israel but moved to the US when I was 5. I have dual citizenship and am now thinking of making aliya. Would it be considered oleh chadash (new immigrant) or toshav chozer (returning resident)? How do I start the process? Is there a market for real estate appraisers in Israe? Will I get help for my son and I? A: You will be considered as a Returning Israeli. This status is processed through the Israeli Consulate nearest to your residence. There are a few Real Estate appraisal companies in Israel although the concept of appraising before purchase is not as popular in Israel as it is abroad. Q: We plan to go to Israel and go to the Ministry of Interior to start the Residence process. We have all our paperwork ready after consulting several Jewish organizations. Will there be a problem upon entering Israel with a return ticket for two months later as you are supposed to have a return ticket? We are American Jews. A: There shouldn't be a problem if you enter with a return ticket Q: As a life-long Zionist, I have always wanted to have an Israeli passport and the possibility of making aliyah. I studied in Israel 1965-1966 and have visited at least 5 times since to see family and to work informally. Ani dover Ivrit. I am coming to Israel within the next 3 months for a relative's wedding. Is it possible to get citizenship based on the law of return, without remaining in the country more than 7-10 days this trip? What are the rules about remaining in the country once one asks for right-of-return citizenship? Thanks. A: If you begin the process in the USA as if you are making Aliyah and complete it in time then you will become an Israeli citizen on entry into Israel. Obviously you will need to spend more time in Israel if you want to obtain an Israeli ID card and passport, but citizenship you will have. Q: I was born in Israel but moved to the US with my parents when I was 3 years old. I visited Israel many times, and had an Israeli passport. For a variety of personal reasons, I have not been able to visit Israel for nearly 18 years, and I inadvertently allowed my Israeli passport to expire. Last year, I wanted to plan a trip to Israel with my wife, and tried to get my Israeli passport renewed. Despite numerous calls, visits and emails to the Consulate in San Francisco, I was unable to get my passport renewed. The Consulate said they had to send the request to the Minister of the Interior in Israel. I waited more than 9 months for a response, and then was told that the Ministry would only grant me a temporary passport good for barely one year. I want to visit Israel for several weeks, and because of my business concerns, and my need to use miles to pay for passage, I have to plan this trip about a year in advance. I cannot do this with a passport that is good for less than one year. I have been unable to get the Consulate to help at all in this matter. Frankly, they have been rude and insulting, telling me that the problem was "my fault for letting my passport expire and for not visiting Israel for so many years!" Their suggestion was that I travel to Israel with my US Passport, and then camp outside the Ministry's office trying to get them to give me a new Israeli passport! I am unwilling to do this, as I cannot afford the risk that I might not be able to leave Israel, nor am I willing to spend most of my time in Israel waiting in the Ministry's office! This situation seems to me to be absurd. Here I am, wanting to visit Israel with my wife, visit family, and to spend money on Israeli goods and services, and I have to beg for a passport!! What is the problem? Why is it that Israel will welcome visitors from all over the world, but will not grant a full 10-year passport to an Israeli citizen so he can visit? Anything you can do to assist me in this problem would be very much appreciated. A: While I don't profess to be an expert on the intricate rules and regulations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I believe that it is not their policy to issue full 10 year passports to Israeli citizens who have allowed their current passport to expire for such a long period of time. If you were living in Israel and had not gone out of the country for 18 years then it would be a different story but it seems from their point of view preferable to issue you with one valid for one year only. I have recently visited both the Kfar Saba and Raanana offices and was very impressed at the speedy and efficient service I got. Therefore I don't really think that it will be necessary to put up a tent. I also do not believe that they will not let you out of Israel if you fail to produce an Israeli passport. You state that you have not visited Israel for 18 years. I am sure that if you finally do come, you will be pleasantly surprised. Q: A person who converted to Judaism can make aliyah? A: Yes, if the conversion is carried through an official Rabbinical Council. Q: I have spent a total of 408 days in Israel. Before 2006 I had only been in Israel for short trips, never longer than 1.5 months at a time. In 2006 I studied abroad for 7 months on an academic program in Israel. I left in January 2007 and came back for a visit in March for 2 weeks, and again in the summer for 70 days to work at a camp. I was 20 when I started to study abroad in 2006, and plan to make aliyah when I am 22. I know the rule about staying out of the country for a complete year to reset your draft age. If I do this now after working at the camp will this count? Would I need to wait the 2 years? If you want me to clarify anything I can send you an attachment with all of it added up and dates. A: It is too complicated to guess. Please contact your Shaliach or the Global Center 1866 835 0430, open an Alyah file so that they may make the exact calculation for you. * * * Vol LXII Q: My partner and I are interested in making Aliya several years in the future after retirement. If in the meantime I purchase a property in Israel to have a place to stay for short visits or to rent out - it's somewhat symbolic as I am anxious to plant some kind of roots in Israel - would this affect the aliya benefits that we are entitled to once we finally move to Israel? A: If you already own property before your Aliyah, the only benefit affected will be you right to apply for a government mortgage at preferred terms. Q: Can I make aliyah to Israel if I am a recent college graduate and have no criminal history aside from a misdemeanor DUI conviction? I know the Law of Return excludes people who pose a significant threat to others, but I don't believe one mistake constitutes a criminal threat. Thank you for your help. A: You should apply for Aliyah in the normal way and mention the problem. It will be considered by the Ministry of Interior. Hopefully they will also treat it as a one time misdemeanor. Q: I was born a christian in Argentina but my husband is an American-Israeli Jew who made aliya many years ago. We've been living in Israel for half a year now. I want to know if I can make Aliya. A: Your husband is Israeli and therefore, the Law of Return does not apply to you because you are the spouse of an Israeli, as opposed to their NJ spouse of someone making Aliyah. Once in Israel, you should apply to the Ministry of Interior for an A-5 visa Q: I am 25 years old with military experience, am coming to Israel in a couple of months. Would IDF place me in a combat unit if i pestered them enough? A: I assume that you are making Aliyah and will become an Israeli Citizen. I am also assuming that you speak Hebrew. If both assumptions are correct and you have a suitable medical profile then why not? Q: I'm a 27 yr. old non-jewish male from Trinidad, West-Indies. I understand that I am not eligible to apply for the IDF. Is there any change of Israeli policy? or is there another I can serve in your army? Also I'm interested in applying for citizenship. Can you help me on this? A: We appreciate your sincere intentions. We suggest that you try to do some volunteering here try www.sar-el.org Q: In May of last year I was the victim of a home invasion. Several armed men broke into my house while I slept. They forced me to watch as they smashed my belongings and wrote nazi/anti-semetic things on the walls. I have never been more scared in my life, I truly thought they were going to kill me. Prior to the attack I had been thinking about making aliyah to Israel but never really taken any action towards it. But following the attack I basically packed my bags and went (a friend in Israel paid for my tickets). Assuming it would be a simple matter to prove my "right of return" once I was there After months of discussions with the Israeli Ministry of the Interior and fruitless efforts to produce "documentary proof" of my Jewishness. I was forced to return to New Zealand Strangely enough I arrived home to find that an Auckland Synagogue had emailed info regarding my great-grandfather the very day that I'd flown out of Israel. But because that relates to my great-grandfather the Israeli government still only considers me to be "historically jewish" and says that the simplest way for me to qualify would be a letter from a synagogue or other Jewish organization stating that they accept that I am a Jew. Unfortunately both synagogues here in Auckland want me to convert before they'll consider writing such a letter. Why do I need to convert if I was raised Jewish? In my mind if I'm Jewish enough that I have to suffer anti-semitic attacks then I'm Jewish enough that I belong in Israel, but bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo is standing in my way Is there an easy way around all this? A: I can understand and sympathize with your frustration. However it is not a question of "bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo". Qualification for Aliyah to Israel is not based on feelings or being historically Jewish. It is in accordance with the Laws of Israel and as such should you wish to proceed with your desire to live in Israel, you will have to consider conversion. Q: Many years ago I lived in Israel for about 13 months. I want to move back to Israel. What is a new return policy? A: It depends on what status you had then 13 years ago. If you were an Oleh, then it is possible that you may still have the balance of certain Immigrant Rights. You should contact the Global Center to try and find out 1 866 835 0430 Q: Can my non-Jewish wife make aliya? My wife converted three years ago to liberal Judaism. She had an exam in front of 8 rabbis and passed. Is my wife considered Jewish in Israel? My 2 children 8 and 10 years old both boys have Israeli passport and (brit-mila) She speaks Hebrew and we met in a kibbutz in 1994 and lived in Israel for 1 year. Since then we married happily in Ireland. A: If your wife completed a Conversion course through the official Liberal Jewish Rabbinical Court and has been active in the Jewish community for at least one year following the conversion then there should be no difficulty in making Aliyah. Whether she will be considered Jewish in Israel depends on who you ask. The official Orthodox Rabbinate does not recognize Liberal conversions.
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