Aliya experts: Giving up citizenship

LXXIII: I was wondering whether I have to give up one or both of my citizenships (Russian and German) in order to make aliyah to Israel.

aliyaexpert88 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
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 and please leave your comments on the Q&A below.
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  • For Vols LXXII to Vol LXXIII click here * * * Vol LXXIII Q: I am a retired policeman with a good pension. My mother was born to a full Jewish mother, my father may be part Jewish but we don't know. I am a Torah follower of Hashem's word to the T. But I cannot prove my Jewishness. Can you please help me so I can die in the land of my FATHERS. Thank you. A: How do you know that your grandmother was Jewish. Where is she buried? Where is your mother buried? You must do some more research to establish you eligibility. Q: I am a (possibly) former Israeli citizen, born to an Israeli citizen. I received the citizenship through birth, I have never been to Israel yet, but I want to make aliyah now. At the age of 8 (in 1977) I was given an Israeli passport for return, valid 7 days, but couldn't leave the country. I had to give up my Israeli citizenship when I was 17 because the Italian law stated that someone who is born with double citizenship must renounce one at the age of 17 (I have never received any answer to my renunciation of citizenship, whether it was approved or not). I wanted to ask: 1. Is there any possibility to regain the status of Israeli citizen without having to stay 5 yrs in Israel, yet? 2. Is there any possibility, if I want to make aliyah to Israel, to obtain a temporary document that would allow travel to Israel (something like those passports for return issued a long time ago)? Thank You anticipately for all the light You can shed to me on this matter. A: Yes, you would enter Israel as a tourist and make an application for citizenship. Even with Israeli bureaucracy, it shouldn't take 5 years. No to your second question. Q: I am about to finish my conservative conversion in Florida, and after I spend another year there, I would like to return to Europe for a short period of time and then make aliyah. So I was wondering whether I have to give up one or both of my citizenships (Russian and German) in order to make aliyah to Israel. A: There is a problem with your German Citizenship. You will most likely lose your German Citizenship if you become Israeli. Q: Are there summer ulpans in Israel that have a significant number of adults 60 and over? What I find on the Internet seems to cater to a younger crowd. You have great column -keep it up! A: Thank you for your kind words re my column. Unfortunately there are no Ulpanim that specialize in the over sixties. Simply because the people that either want or need to learn Hebrew tend to be younger. Some people start learning when they're young and are still learning when they are sixty!! Q: My father is Jewish and my mother is not. I am planning to make Aliyah soon. I am 18 yrs old. My problem is that I got into trouble as a youth which resulted in a conviction. Is this going to prevent me from moving to Israel? A: It depends on the conviction, crimes to do with drugs or violence are taken very seriously by the Ministry of Interior. You should contact your nearest Aliyah Shaliach for further instructions. Q: My grandmother is considering coming to live in Israel in a retirement home. She is 87 and living in the UK. Will she get full aliyah benefits and full medical coverage? Will she get any assistance in covering the costs of assisted living/retirement home? A: Yes she will be covered by the National Health Act and receive the same benefits as all Israelis. However don't expect very much assistance for assisted living. It's almost all private and quite expensive. Q: I made aliya over 4 months ago. If I have to return to my home country can I still receive an Israeli passport? Under what conditions? Thank you! A: You can apply for an Israel Travel Document - Laissez Passe or in Hebrew Teudat Ma avar. However you have to reside at least 12 months in Israel before you can apply for a full Israeli passport. Q: If two people are married, but only one chooses to make aliyah and become an Israeli citizen, and the other prefers to remain on a tourist visa, are their children automatically made Israeli citizens even if this is against their wishes. A: What a question! Would you ask the same in USA or Britain!!?? The child will automatically receive the same citizenship as both his parents. Q: I've recently been accepted to the Technion American Medical Program and I'm considering making aliyah. Would it be financially better to come on an American student visa or make aliyah? And if I do make aliya, I didn't want to have to serve in the that a requirement or is there an exemption option for students? A: You haven't given me enough information to answer your questions accurately. You will not get an exemption while you are studying but you will get a deferment. Q: The father of my wife (she is 36 yrs old ) was an Israeli citizen, but left the country in '51 and married in the diaspora. We're now considering aliyah. Does this affect her status as "olah chadashah" or does it mean any obligation for her (army service for instance)? A: If her father left in 1951 then she will be considered as an Olah Chadasha. Married women do not have an Army obligation. Q: If you're a Jewish duel citizen and return to the US because aliya didn't work out. Do you lose citizenship? A: NO Q: I will return to Israel within 3 years from now. I am in the field of Airlines, are there any chances to get work at 65 in this? A: The "plane "truth NO * * * Vol LXXII Q: My husband lived in Israel for 2 years when he was a child. He received his Israeli passport at that time. After 2 years, his family returned to Iran. He left Iran for the US in 1979. He is also an American citizen. Are our children, born in the US, considered to be Israeli citizens and do they require Israeli passports when we travel to Israel for a vacation? A: Technically speaking your children were born with Israeli citizenship and therefore should have Israeli passports when entering and departing from Israel. Practically, as your country of birth is Iran and your children's passports show 'born in Israel' it is unlikely to be noticed at the airport. Q: Greetings. I am 27, male, Israeli citizen but have lived abroad all my life, never visiting Israel for more than a month at a time. If I were to move to Israel at this age, would I have to serve in the army? If yes, for how long? How can I check on the requirements? A: You would not have to serve. You would be placed on a list of "reserve pool" meaning that while you will not receive automatic exemption but you won't be called up unless a real emergency occurs Q: I made aliyah with my parents when I was 15 years old and I turned 16 in Israel. My family had to return to America. Is there any way that I can revoke my Israeli Citizenship as I wish to study in Israel for the next 2 years without trouble now that I am 18 years old. Thank you. A: The short answer is "no you can't revoke your Israeli Citizenship". Q: My grandmother and mother made aliyah in the 1960s and then subsequently returned to the US in 1980 and 1981. I made aliyah in 2006 and now want to get married. My situation is this, I have no documents from my grandmother or my mother stating that they are Jewish (my grandmother is dead and we never found her ketubah and my father is not Jewish so there's no ketubah there either) the only things I have are my grandmother's and mother's Teudot zehut (both state that both women are Jewish) and my grandmother's death certificate which states that she had an orthodox funeral. Also, my teudat Zehut indicates that I am Jewish (Hebrew birth-date under the picture) Will this be enough for me to prove my Jewishness? Though I was not born in Israel, I am the third generation of Israeli citizen in my family. Does that count for anything? If not, what can I do? A: If you can show proof that you grandmother is buried in a Jewish Cemetery then that should be enough to qualify you for Aliyah Q: I made Aliyah with my wife in 1987 and left after three and a half years. We would like to return and live. What would our status be? Would we have any rights? A: You don't mention how many times and for how long you have visited Israel since leaving in 1990 but in principle you would be termed "Oleh Gorer Zechuyot" An "Immigrant dragging benefits". Q: At what age can I make aliyah to israel and be sure that I do not have to serve in the army? A: 30 Q: I am a fine artist with not much academic qualifications in regards to Art. Though I have the capability to perform art skills i.e. drawing and painting. Please advice me on how I may work this skill in Israel - get a job -  or otherwise study to further and reach the bona-fide standards. Thanks in advance. A: Artists normally have a portfolio of their work. You should first build one and then show it in Israel. Q: My great grandfather (Herman Schick) stole away on a cargo ship to the US during the Holocaust.  He has since passed, but we know he was Jewish.  He was from Bonn, Germany and there are no records there as the Nazis completely burned the synagogue prior to his escape. We know of no other means to prove our Jewishness than by a DNA test, but have heard that this can be done only in Israel (for the purposes of Israeli citizenship - Law of Return).  Is this correct?  Would this DNA test alone (if proving Jewish lineage) qualify us for aliyah? If so, how would one go about this process?  I am a daughter from the paternal line...would this affect the testing or do I need a male in the paternal line to submit to the testing?  Please advise. A: DNA can prove Jewish lineage but that doesn't automatically result in eligibility for Aliyah. This is governed by the rules of the Law of Return. Q: I am an American-born US citizen. I came to Israel on an oleh's visa in 1957 and left in 1968 and have never lived full-time in Israel since. I also never took Israeli citizenship and in fact actively refused it because of the then restriction on American citizens having dual nationality. When I visit Israel now am I considered a returning resident or a tourist? If I were to return to live in Israel would I be considered a new oleh again or a toshav chozer?. Thank you. A: Neither. You stated that you actually refused Israeli citizenship. If this is so then your status will be "Oleh BeShenit"you're your benefits will be those of a Returning Resident. Q: Hi, we have 4 children aged 3-12. We are planning to make aliyah. Can we get child benefit even though our children were born in the UK? A: Yes Q: I am 27 yrs old, have Jewish ancestry, but none recent(grandparents and parents are non Jewish) I am wanting to come to Israel and hopefully serve in the military. What do I need to do? can i do this? I am married with 3 children. A: Sorry but your ancestry is not sufficient enough to qualify you under the Law of Return. Q: I am 53 years old and considering transforming my yearly visits to Israel into aliyah. Am I too old to join the Army? I am in good physical condition, thank G_d. Is there any way at this age to volunteer with the Army? A: Sorry you are about 25 years too late. You can try volunteering for the Civil Guard. Q: I left Israel when I was 5, and wish to return there at 25 and serve in the army, and am of good health. Will I be allowed to or will I be too old. I read that "after 25 one does not serve automatically". Am I still allowed to if I want to, or will they make it difficult for me?  Also how long does it typically take between making aliyah and serving in the army? A: The Army generally will wait one year before call up for Army. Your Army service will depend on 4 factors:Your age of entry to Israel, your age at induction, your marital status and your medical profile. Q: I made aliya in 1990, did a yeshiva program that obligated me to do ministry (shlichut) in Chutz L'Aretz, which I did as a US military chaplain. I would like to return at some point. My issue is Household Goods. When I left Israel, I took much of my stuff, leaving the rest in my home in Beitar. Recently I sold the home and the furnishings. So when I return to Israel, the military will pay to move my current home furnishings. But I don't want to have to pay for them again vis a vis Customs (Meches). What do you advise? Can I bring my furnishings, or should I just sell everything I can here, and buy new stuff upon my return?  Thanks A: If you have kept all the documentation, including the shipping papers then you can prove that the household goods you want to bring in are the same goods you exported out of Israel,, then you will not be asked to pay the customs duties. Q: I thrilled to have found this site, I have this question for a while but I didn't know who to ask: I'm 28 years old, born in the US and have been in Israel for the past 3 years as a tourist. I'm married here with 3 children, and thinking of settling here. My father already has Israeli citizenship, but he was not born in Israel and he only spent a few years there before settling in the US. Would I still have the status of an Oleh? Are there any benefits when buying a house? And finally - how much time am I likely to spend in the army? A: From what you have stated, you are in fact an Israeli citizen from birth because you were born to an Israeli father. Your status will probably be a "Ezrach Yelid Chul" Israeli Citizen Born Abroad. As such technically you can't actually make Aliyah but you can "return Home". You should apply to the Ministry of the Interior (Misrad Hapnim) for an ID Card and then apply to The Ministry of Absorption (Misrad Haklita) for a green-coloured Teudat Oleh called a Teudat Zakaut. Once you have this you should apply to a mortgage Bank for them to access the amount of Government mortgage you may receive. It is extremely unliklely that the Army will be interested in you. * * * * * *
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