Ask the aliya experts

Vol XLVII: Is an oleh entitled to any kind of monthly housing subsidy if he/she purchases an apartment in Israel?

aliyaexpert88 (photo credit: )
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The experts include Maurice Singer and his team at the Global Center of 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 XL to XLIII click here. * * * Vol XLVII Q: I've understood that in the first few years, a new immigrant is entitled to a rental subsidy from the Ministry of Housing. Is an oleh entitled to any kind of monthly housing subsidy if he/she purchases an apartment in Israel? A: Once an oleh has purchased an apartment, they are no longer eligible to receive rent subsidy. Olim during the first 10 years of their aliya are however entitled to receive a mortgage at favorable terms. Q: I am the child of a Jewish father and non-Jewish mother. I understand that I can make aliya and get full benefits and rights as an oleh, but I would not be considered a Jew. If I were to make aliya, given my sort of limbo status, what would be my situation with regards to the army? Would I be conscripted or have to volunteer if I wished to serve? A: Under the terms of the law of return, you are indeed entitled to make aliya. Once an oleh, your army service will be the same as any other oleh irrespective of your religious status. Q: Shalom! I have a question. I lived in Israel for two years and a half (from 2000 to the end of 2002). I am not Jewish by birth but I have Jewish heart, love Jewish people and I love Israel. I read Torah and speak basic conversational Hebrew; I would like to covert to Judaism. Could I make aliya in this case and in how long would I be granted Israeli citizenship? A: The Israeli Ministry of Interior requires that people who have converted to Judaism spend at least one year in their own country being involved in the Jewish community there. Following this year they can apply for aliya and consequently Israeli citizenship. Q: I plan to make aliya in the near future but may have to commute back and forth frequently between Seoul and Israel during the first year (during which time I will be transitioning my business to be managed gradually more from Israel). My family (wife & 3 children) will remain in Israel during these business trips. How long will it take until I can obtain an Israeli passport? Can I receive it in less than a year? Do I need to apply from outside of Israel after making aliya? Do I have to physically reside in Israel for the entire year myself to obtain a passport, or is enough if my family is there and I have a home there and am commuting back and forth for the first year? A: New immigrants can enter and leave Israel during the first 3 months of their aliya on their foreign passport. During this time they may apply for an Israeli travel document - Laissez Passe (Teudat Ma'avar in Hebrew). After one year, the immigrant may apply for a full Israeli passport. Please note that the Ministry does not always agree to issue a full passport if the oleh has not spent sufficient time in Israel. Q: Can a returning resident receive any rights that help towards purchase of a home? I never used my olah rights years ago, and have been outside of Israel for more than 10 years. Thank you. A: All Israelis who have never owned property in Israel have a certain amount of eligibility to receive a housing mortgage. For full details of your own eligibility you should contact the mortgage department of any bank in Israel to apply for a Teudat Zakaut (certificate of eligibility). * * * Vol XLVI Q: I have a non-Jewish girlfriend that is planning to come and study here in Israel in the upcoming months; is it possible for her to get a work permit?? A: Work permits are given to all applicants that can convince the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and then the Ministry of Interior that their skills are required in Israel. Therefore the job seeker must first find the job and only then apply for a work permit. Q: I am a Conservative convert married to a Sabra who left Israel at age 12 with her parents (Survivors). She has lived in the USA for 45 years and never returned to Israel. We are considering aliya for our retirement years. 1. Can I make aliya first to establish my citizenship and she would make aliya in three years after she retires? 2. Can I be buried as a Jew in Israel? A: Yes, you can make aliya before your spouse. There are special forms required to be completed for "split aliya." You should either consult your nearest aliya office or call the Global Center toll-free: 1-866-835-0430. Regarding being buried as a Jew in Israel, we recommend that you consult with the local "Chevrat Kaddishe" (burial dept) nearest to your planned residence in Israel. Q: My parents are Israeli citizens and I was born in Israel, but have been in the United States since I was five. I have American citizenship as well as Israeli citizenship. I am now in school here in Israel and my citizenship has been nothing but trouble for me. Is there any way I can revoke my citizenship? A: An Israeli Citizen cannot revoke their Israeli Citizenship while they are living in Israel. Such a citizen who has been out of Israel for seven years can apply through the nearest Israeli Consulate to have their Citizenship revoked. Q: I am a 53-year-old physician (ophthalmologist). What options would I have to practice medicine in Israel? A: You should contact your nearest Aliya Office and bring them copies of your qualifications, resume, current licenses and they will send them to the Scientific Council for assessment and Validation. Q: Hello - where is your booklet on regulations for returning residents available? I immigrated to Israel in 1957 and was resident till 1970 but never took citizenship. I have not been resident since, and when visiting from time to time, enter and leave as a tourist. If I return now would I be considered a returning resident? Thank you. A: Yes you will be considered a returning Resident. A booklet on regulations for Returning Residents should be obtainable from you nearest branch of the Israeli Embassy or Consulate to where you live. * * * Vol XLV Q: I am 42, a surgeon, and thinking of making aliya. I know that I am not required to do army service but, believe it or not, I want to. I think in order to be considered "Israeli" you have to serve. What are my possibilities? A: You are correct that you are above the age for reserve duty. You do have the right to try and volunteer for army service and it will be up to the army to decide. Q: I plan on getting my master's degree in meteorology in several years and I am interested in making aliya. Would the IDF consider my education when they decide where to use me? A: The army is not obliged to take a person's professional degree into consideration when inducting them to do their national service. However, if other things are equal such as age, physical fitness and knowledge of Hebrew there is a reasonable chance that you could find yourself in a unit that will use your professional knowledge. Q: Are there any restrictions or exclusion policies regarding persons with stable, well controlled psychiatric conditions whose medications are readily available in Israel and whose physician agrees that they are stable for aliya? A: The issue of people making aliya with psychiatric conditions is a delicate one. This is because of the clause in the Law of Return that refers to someone who can be a cause of danger to public safety. However, a person that can show evidence that their condition is controlled with medications available in Israel are generally accepted for aliya. Q: I am a dual Canadian/Israel citizen. I left about 4 years ago but may return someday. Are my wife and son automatic citizens? A: If you have Israeli citizenship then your children will automatically have Israeli citizenship irrespective of in which country they were born. Q: I recently discovered that I am a descendent from the anusim and I am currently studying for conversion. I am a 53-year-old male, divorced, and HIV+, but asymptomatic of aids. If I wish to make aliya will my HIV status cause a problem for me? A: The Law of Return refers to contagious diseases, such as TB because it can be caught simply by breathing the air next to a carrier. In this context, HIV is not considered contagious and therefore will not prevent someone from making aliya. * * * Vol XLIV Q: I want to change banks, but I'm still receiving a small amount of rent subsidy. My local misrad klita was unhelpful except for giving me one number that never answers and then shrugging. Who do I contact to find out how long the subsidy lasts (I'm approaching 4 years here) and how to change my bank account properly? A: When you change your bank you should instruct your new bank to continue to pay any standing orders that were instructed to the old bank. Similarly your old bank should transfer into the new one any moneys that come in. The rent subsidy lasts for 5 years from the date of aliya. Q: Does a get qualify to prove Jewishness? I didn't have a Jewish wedding, but I did get a Jewish divorce... A: The orthodox rabbinical authorities would not issue a get to someone who was not Jewish and therefore this is generally sufficient evidence to prove Jewishness. Q: Hi, I am Toshav Hoser, after many years (over 20) in US. I got a waiting period (hamtana) from Bituach Leumi of 10 months before I can join health plan. This opens up a serious problem if something happens, as the health plans also have additional waiting periods. Is there a way to shorten the period? Especially since I am employed and paying full health insurance? A: The current waiting period for returning residents who want to join the health service is 10 months, however there is an arrangement with Bituach Leumi which reduces this waiting period to 6 months by paying a fee; you should contact Bituach Leumi for specific details, making sure they have your ID number. Q: I would like to know if I can make aliya to Israel. I am Jewish; I helped a friend cross the US - Canadian Border and was arrested. Can I, with this criminal file, make aliya? A: When dealing with cases where an aliya applicant has a criminal record, the Israeli ministry of Interior will consider each case on its own merits. Q: How can I find out if I am entitled to a rent subsidy? I called the Kfar Saba branch of misrad haklitah and they said they know nothing about it. On the Nefesh B'Nefesh site, it says I am entitled to a rent subsidy. A: Olim, meaning people who have made aliya for the first time, are entitled to a nominal rental subsidy during the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th year of aliya. This follows the absorption basket (sal klita), which is paid during the first year. The following years are paid automatically into the same bank account. This system differs slightly for Israeli citizens who have rent subsidy benefits. * * * Send your comments >> Cafe Oleh experts have been chosen for their knowledge and reputation. Cafe Oleh does not take responsibility for any advice they offer.
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