Aliya experts: How is residency determined?

LXIX: How is residency determined?

aliyaexpert88 (photo credit: )
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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 LXIV to Vol LXV click here * * * Vol LXIX Q: My son considers returning to Israel. He has not yet done his military service. We heard that at his age, he can do a short service, or sign for 5 years if he wants to use his engineering education. This means that if he does not want to sign, he will not be able to contribute his professional skills, which will be wasted. This may convince him, not to return to his country. Isn't this signing condition a silly way to deter boys from contributing professionally? A: You don't mention your son's age so it is difficult for me to give an accurate opinion. One of the realities which both you and you son must consider is that first and foremost the Army decides its wants and needs. If this matches the aspirations of the recruit, so much the better. When you son finishes his Army stint he will have the rest of his working life to contribute his skills to the state of Israel. Q: I am 50 years old and an American Jew. I believe, every Jew, no matter where they live, shares an obligation to support Israel.  My question is, is it possible to obtain dual citizenship(Israeli/ US). I eventually plan to sell my business and make Aliyah so I can contribute to the future of Israel. I am active in Chabad and would even be interested is converting my US Military experience volunteer in Israel. Thanks! A: It is possible once you have made Aliyah. There is no procedure for becoming an Israeli while still in USA. Q: My daughter is currently studying at the Technion as a foreign exchange student. She is 19 years old and will turn 20 in April. Her program will finish next August. She is considering not only continuing education at the Technion but eventually staying in Israel after graduation as well. Therefore, she is considering Aliyah after the current program is over. If she becomes an olah hadashah at 20, will she be required to do military service (either now or when she graduates)?. The Jewish Agency in our country told us that female immigrants of 20 years or older were exempt but  she's been told otherwise at the Sohnut in J'lem but nobody seems to be certain on this matter. Thank you. A: There are 4 major criteria re recruitment: age on entry to Israel, age on induction, marital status and medical profile. Assuming that she is healthy and still single then the fact is that she was 19 when entered Israel. As such technically she could be inducted. Practically it will be up to the Army to decide. If her Aliyah is aged 20, the Army normally waits a year so she could be 21 and by that time the Army might have other considerations. Q: If I had my gallbladder and appendix removed at around 5 years of age, will I still be able to serve in a combat unit? I have had no problems since then. What will my profile be if I had no other physical defects? A: The Army will decide after giving you a full medical Q: I was born in Israel and my family moved to the states when I was 2. I still have my citizenship and use my army deferment papers when I travel to Israel. I graduated college last spring and have been working for the last several months. I plan on marrying my girlfriend sometime in the next 2 years. I am currently 23. We are seriously thinking about coming to Israel.  The first possibility is for short term. It would mostly be for graduate school and to just see how it is to live there on our own (as opposed to our trips and study abroad when we were younger). The second possibility would be a permanent or at least longer term aliyah assuming we're confident we can set up a comfortable life. My question is what are the benefits and obligations that I would have as a returning citizen (I assume that's my classification). What assistance do I get for education, home ownership/renting, etc? Also, what are my army obligations?  My girlfriend plans on getting citizenship if we go so what would she be entitled to? A: You have asked so many questions that I suggest you contact the nearest Aliyah Shaliach or call the Global Center toll free from USA 1 866 835 0430. Your classification might be that of Returning Minor (a better deal than Returning Resident) However this classification depends on certain factors and is another reason for making contact with the Aliyah Department. Q: I lived in Israel from 1968 till 1986. I opted out of Israeli citizenship and was a permanent resident during this period. I served in the IDF and worked and had a todat zehut. From 1986 to the present I have lived in the U.S. (I was born in the US and have a US passport). I am now 60 years.I have traveled to Israel  ver the last 22 years and have entered the country with my American passport. On my last few trips they have stamped my passport with a residents visa because I have a Todat Zehut number. I am in the process of buying an apartment and have plans to stay in Israel for extended periods of time. I asked at the Misrad Hapnim  in Tel Aviv if I needed a new Todat Zahut if I'm in Israel for months at a time. My Teudat Zehut is the old blue book type with a picture of me when I was 20. I was told that I was no longer a permanent resident because I haven't lived in Israel for over 20 years and the stamp in my American passport is a mistake. I was told I couldn't get a Teudat Zehut from them. When I asked the person at Misrad Hapnim what I should do to clarify my status. I was told I have to go through the Israeli consulate in Washington. I am Jewish and my wife and 2 children are Israeli citizens with Israeli passports.   After all these years can I now become an Israeli citizen under the law of return. Did my request to be a permanent resident when I was 20( 40 years ago )still stand and disallow me from becoming a citizen now. When I enter Israel  what sort of visa should I have. I don't have any problems at the airport and they see me as a resident because I have a Teudat Zahut number. Misrad Hapnim sees it differently and told me I'm not resident. If in the future I decide to live in Israel permanently would I be considered a returning resident. I'm totally confused. Who and how is residency determined. A: I understand that after you made Aliyah, at some stage you opted out of Israeli Citizenship. Therefore should you decide at some stage to return to live in Israel you will need a visa which is called "Oleh Beshenit" and can be issued by any Israeli consulate. Once in Israel, after having establishing Residency, you may apply to the Ministry of Interior for citizenship. * * * Vol LXVIII Q: Shalom I have no parents to prove I am Jewish. I was in Israel in Jerusalem in Oct 2006 and Tel Aviv in 2007. Can you advise me if I wish to make aliyah if i can have a DNA test, which is the best one and if it can run through the paternal line since my mother was definitely not Jewish. Thanks for your assistance. A: DNA testing is a possibility but it can only be done in Israel. You must apply once in Israel to the Ministry of Interior. All costs are to be born by the applicant. Q: I was raised as a Jew because my dad and grandparents were Jewish but was born to a non-Jewish mother. I want to make aliyah, but do I count as being Jewish? or do i have to convert before I attempt to make aliyah? A: If you are able to prove that either your father or one of your grandparents are/were Jewish then you qualify for Aliyah by the Law of Return even if you are not considered Jewish. Q: A person who was born in Israel but left in the 40s or 50s, and now comes back: is he considered an Oleh or a Returning Resident? Details please. A: Persons born in Israel or in the British Mandated territories that left Israel before April 1st. 1952 are not considered as Israeli Citizens and as such will be considered Oleh Hadash should they decide to make Aliyah. Q: It seems from talking to my friends ages 20-25 is that the number one impediment for their Aliya is a concern about being forcefully drafted. This seems to be a concern as well for thousands of Israelis who live in the US from a young age. What can be done to alleviate this governmental pressure to join the army, so that people will be able to live in Israel "comfortably" by US standards. A: The rules of who has to serve and for how long are much easier than ever before and probably if the individual potential Oleh took the trouble to check his own potential obligation then he might be pleasantly surprised. The security situation makes it necessary for Israel to have compulsory military service, it's part of the realities of living in Israel. Thousands of Israeli Citizens living in Israel are currently guarding the country so that the thousands of Israeli living abroad will have a place to come home to one day!! Q: I'm a UK citizen currently finishing my degree. I'm thinking about making aliyah after I've completed my degree and I was wondering whether I'll need to serve in the army. I'll be 25 in the year I'm thinking about emigrating. A: Aliyah after age 25 means no automatic Army service, sorry Q: I am 27, and I finished my conversion earlier this year (in June). In September, I will be staying in Israel for 5 months to do an ulpan/volunteer work through an umbrella organization. I would like to make aliya, but I have no life savings (helping my father, who was battling cancer) and am afraid that my job skills will not be marketable. What resources as an oleh will help me make a smooth transition? A: Please consult either with your Aliyah Shaliach or the Global Center 1 866 835 0430. They will explain in full details all available benefits. But it will be difficult for you, budget carefully before making any decision. * * * Vol LXVII Q: I have a friend that has contacted me to inquire about the aliya process. He was born in Israel while his parents were studying at Hebrew University but his parents did not make aliya. Does the fact that he was born in Jerusalem make his status any different or does he need to make aliyah in the same way he would if were not born in Israel? A: There was a time that Jewish babies born in Israel were automatically registered as Israeli. I believe that today this is not the case. Your friend should check with the nearest branch of the Israeli Consulate. Q: I'm planning to make aliya next June from France. I have 3 children under 18. As an olim family, how many reduction points can I obtain? Someone told me that it is 2.25/ for every Israeli. 3 for all the kids. 3 again the first 18 mths. So 8.25%? Is that right ? A: Yes and the "reduction points" have just been raised to NIS 189 per point. Q: I lived in Israel years ago and took Israeli citizenship. Because I support Rav Meir Kahane and the KACH party I was harassed by the shabak (Israeli security services) and decided to leave. Is the atmosphere in Israel better for kach supporters today or does the regime still harass Jewish nationalists while supporting arab nationalists like the PLO? A: Everybody harasses everybody here. We harass them, they harass us. The left harass the right and the right harass the left. Hapoel Harasses Macabi and Macabi harasses Betar. The Datiim Harass the secular and the secular harass the Datiim. Guess what after almost 40 years of being harassed daily in Israel, I prefer it to being unharrased for one day in the Diaspora!!! Q: I was born in the US to two Israeli citizens and I plan on visiting Israel in two months without an Israeli passport. Do I need one and if yes must I take care of it before I depart? A: If you have never had an Israeli passport then you can visit Israel on your US passport. Q: I made aliyah about 15 years ago and used most of my rights at the time. I subsequently left Israel and have lived in china for the past 4 years with occasional short visits to Israel. I am now planning to return to Israel. Do I have rights as a toshav chozer? what are these rights? Can I bring in a shipment without tax from china? What limitations are placed on this shipment? Can I bring in building materials and machinery to build a house? And other equipment? What are the tax implications? With many thanks. A: You don't state how long you lived in Israel following your Aliyah but I am assuming that it was about 10 years. If so then you will be a Toshav Chozer (Returning Resident). However please note neither Olim or Returning Residents have rights on building materials or household fitments and building materials, I suggest you search Q: I was born in Israel and left at the age of three. I am now in Israel doing a program recognized by the Sochnut for six months. Since I have an Israeli passport and Teudat Zehut number, I would like to work while I am here as well. My question is, will I lose any of my aliyah benefits in the future if I work while I am here? A: No, if you remain on the recognized program at the same time. Q: I was a temporary resident from 1960 - 64, just over the three years, but did not take citizenship due to the extra travel tax at the time and I wanted to visit my parents in Chutz La'Aretz. I married an Israeli citizen. In 1964 we left Israel. We are now 65 and 63 respectively. Do we have any rights and if so what. We have no income apart from a small pension and do not own any assets. Is there somewhere for us to live and will we be able to buy food?  We do not want to be sent in to the desert. A: People are not sent anywhere. It is up to the individual as to where they want to live. You should contact the Aliyah dept. in either Sidney or Melbourne or alternatively call the Global Center toll free from Australia 1 800 445 781. The should be able to advise you accordingly. * * * Vol LXVI Q: I am an American Jew and I would like to know if being married to an Israeli citizen affects my rights and benefits as an oleh chadash. I have only visited Israel as a tourist and my husband and I currently live in the US.  Also I would like to know how I find out if I am eligible to receive grants for tuition fees in obtaining a master's degree. I am currently 29 yrs old and I will be making Aliyah in the next year or so. Thank you for your time. A: The cut-off age for Olim assistance for a Masters degree is age 30 so you had better hurry. The only benefit that could be affected by you being married to an Israeli is a mortgage. If he is registered as owning a property, then you would not be eligible for a government/Oleh mortgage. Other than that you should be fine. Q: For a friend in America. If someone has Jewish great grandparents, in the male line, and a certificate of conversion from a Reform Rabbi, does she qualify for aliyah? A: There are 2 separate issues here. A certificate from a Reform Rabbi who is recognized by the Reform Synagogue should be sufficient for the Law of Return vis a vis Aliyah. Jewish great grandparents are not. Q: I made Aliyah in April 2002 but only stayed in Israel til February 2003. I now have the possibility of working for a subsidiary of an international company in Israel. What would my status be if I return this year? Would I be entitled to claim my Oleh rights, or would I be a Toshav Hozer? Whom should I contact to seek official clarification of my status? A: You will probably be defined as an Oleh who is "towing" his Oleh Benefits. You should contact the Aliyah Department in Balfour House, London. Q: I immigrated to Israel in 1956, at the age of 7, with my parents. We left for the USA in 1959. Am I still considered an Israeli citizen? If so, how can I acquire an Israeli passport? A: You should contact the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles. If you or your parents still have some documentation such as ID numbers or old passports, it will be easier. However even if you are registered as Israeli, the Consulate is not duty bound to issue you a passport. A passport is a travel document issued by Israel to its citizens to allow them to travel out and then back into Israel. This does not appear to be relevant in your case. Q: When I was less than a year old, my family made aliyah from the US but we returned to the US in 1978 when I was 8 years old. I reentered Israel in 1988, at the age of 18 on my US passport (a technical no-no, I realize, as an Israeli citizen I had an obligation to use my Israeli passport) for a year of yeshiva study. Bored with yeshiva, I made my way to a kibbutz. I also eventually contacted lishkat ha giyyus and let them know I was an Israeli citizen. My expired Israeli passport and teudat zehut that I had from 10 years earlier as a child were still with my parents in the US. I was essentially told to stay where I was on my kibbutz, wait for my tzav giyyus while they checked all this stuff out. I wanted to do my army service. I subsequently let my mother back in the US know what I was up to, and she had a panic attack about my impending enlistment, reminded me that I was supposed to be in college, cried, screamed etc. over several trans-atlantic phone calls and essentially freaked out. Basically, my panicky Jewish mother convinced me to return to the US post-haste before I became "cannon fodder" (one of her favorite expressions regarding any potential service by her sons in the IDF and one of the major reasons why we returned to the US in the 1st place) and I did. I never went to BAKUM, but I gave the lishkat ha giyyus all of my info 20 years ago. I never obtained new copies of my Israeli documents as an adult, and left the country again, on my American passport without an ishur yetziah. (Another no-no.) I always figured I would return to Israel after college, do my service, but then I went to grad school, married, and I never got around to it. I've since visited Israel several times in the 2000s as a tourist, on my US passport. (Again, I know, a "no no".) Now, divorced at 37, I want to return to Israel for good, which I always wanted to do - but I always buckled under to family pressures from my mother and ex-wife. I've always wanted to do my service anyway, but I realize I am too old for even shlav bet. Moreover, I am pretty sure that since I returned at 18 and let them know back then that I was in the country my information is on file, and essentially I am a draft evader. How much trouble am I in for? From what I understand, I might be inducted, sent to kele tzva'i (military jail) pay a fine and dishonorably discharged all on the same day. But won't that ruin any future job prospects for me in Israel? If they would take me, I'd gladly even do 3 years in the army! But I know that's not happening. Please help. A: So you prefer to do 3 years Army service rather than face your ex-wife and Mother??!! Maybe you should join the Foreign Legion!! Seriously though, you should contact the nearest Israeli Consulate and give them your details. They will check the records and get back to you. * * *
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