Ask the aliya experts

Vol XLVIII:Is a ger who underwent a reform conversion outside of Israel covered by the Law of Return, or permitted aliyah?

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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 XLIV to XLVII click here. * * * Vol XLVIII * * * Q: I made aliya back in '04, and lived in Israel until the end of '06. I did receive a basket of funds from the government, which went to my schooling. I have decided that living in Israel is not for me. What kind of repercussions can I look forward to if I decide to go back to visit my friends in Israel? A: No repercussions. With the exception of customs benefits, all the other benefits were non-repayable grants. Q: I am a South African citizen, and Jewish. I'm thinking of moving to Israel to live, how long does one have to stay in the country to get citizenship/passport? A: Citizenship is given on entry and automatically ratified after 90 days. A full Israeli Passport may be issued after one year. During the first year one leaves Israel with a travel document "Laissez Passé". Q: Is a ger who underwent a reform conversion with a bet din and mikvah outside of Israel covered by the Law of Return, or permitted aliyah? A: Yes, after they have spent at least one year living and being active in a Jewish Community outside Israel. Q: Hi I made alia in 2003 but for economic problems I came back to Venezuela. Can I do alia again? For how long I have to wait if it's possible? A: You cannot make Aliyah again but you can return to Israel and should be able to claim some of the benefits that you did not use during your first aliyah attempt. Q: I am American married to an Israeli and we have a daughter (born in the US). The Shaliach said that we are considered 'mishpachat olim' even though my husband has been out of Israel for less than four years. Does this mean that he has olim rights such as income tax reductions and grants for education like I have as an olah? A: The Shaliach is correct that you will be considered a Mishpachat Olim but that does not mean that all benefits also apply to him. Mishpachat Olim entitles also your husband to a one-way ticket back to Israel and to receive the Absorption Basket (Sal Klitah). Check again with your Shaliach for the full list of benefits and who gets what. Q: I lived in Israel from 1978-1982 as a Temporary Resident and my wife is an Israeli citizen, whom I married in Israel in 1981. We then left for Canada so that I could continue my post-graduate studies. If we were now to leave Canada to return to Israel, would our rights be those covered by those of my wife's "returning Israeli", or my "returning resident" rights, or a combination of both? Would you recommend that we approach the local Aliyah office in the context of being a returning Israeli or a returning resident (i.e. a a Canadian who lived in Israel for 4 years but never took out Israeli citizenship, or became an "Oleh Hadash" - only a temporary resident? A: You should contact your Shaliach because if you wish to return you will need an Oleh Visa. This is just a visa and DOESNT mean that it will give you Immigrant Benefits. From what you have written you will both be returning residents as far as benefits are concerned (one set per family). You might have some housing rights left (grirat zechuyot) from your previous stay. This you will be able to ascertain once back in Israel. Q: I'm a Canadian medical student studying medicine at Tel Aviv University's Sackler School of Medicine, American program. If I were to make aliya next year (my final year of med school), do stag (1 year) then return to the US for residency (5-7 years) before coming back to Israel, how would my sal klita be affected by the time outside of Israel? Could it be put on hold with the intent of continuing it once I returned? A: Sal Klita is offered to people who have either not stayed in Israel for more than 18 months within the last 3 years or not more than 3 years within the last 7 years. Q: Can a person make aliyah into Israel thru DNA? Is there such a thing yet? My family is from the Rowne area (100 years ago) I believe they have Jewish roots, and I would love to make aliyah. Can I thru DNA? A: DNA is not used for testing eligibility for Aliyah Q: I am 23 years old and strongly considering making Aliyah next year, when I will be 24. I understand that I will called to serve for 6 months in the army, but I am curious: what can one expect to do in the army for 6 months, at the age of 24? Does it depend entirely on your profile, or is there a range of options generally afforded to this sort of soldier. In other words, as an English-speaking 24 year-old American newly moved to Israel, what can I expect out of the army? (Note: my Hebrew is fairly decent but not conversationally fluent.) A: The Army, when conscripting considers :age of entry to Israel, age of conscription, marital status and medical profile. Like in all militaries, they will ask you what you would like to do and then place you according to their needs!! Q: We want to make aliyah next year, my wife and me. I am 67 years old and I was in Israel in 1956 with my parents for 17 months, I have teoudat zehout. My wife didn't live in Israel. What will be our rights? A: Purely based on the little information you have offered, your wife will be a New Immigrant and you a Retuning Resident. You will benefit from the better of the two options, which are Immigrant benefits. You must enquire regarding health coverage for you as this differs from that of your wife. Q: I wanted to ask a question concerning "Toshav Hozer." I'm 33 years old and have been living in the US for 10 years. During that time I obtained US citizenship but maintained my Israeli "toshavut." If I were to return and settle in Israel, will I have to re-enlist and do Miluim, or are double-citizens exempt? A: Yes you will have to register with the Army again. Q: I have a career in the Canadian air force and was wondering if my trade qualifications would be transferable in the Israeli air force? Another concern, is that I'm in my late 30's and I don't know if people still serve at this age as they do here in North America? A: Our Armed Forces employ many civilians and you should consider this an option for employment in Israel Q: I am in the process of Aliya and one day wish to be a citizen. I one day would like to marry my long time girlfriend. My question is if I were a citizen and came to marry my long time girlfriend would that make her a citizen? If that were not the case how could she become a citizen herself? A: An Israeli citizen marrying a non-citizen of Israel does not automatically grant the newlywed Israeli citizenship. You girlfriend would have to apply in the same way that you are applying. Q: My husband and I converted abroad and came to Israel Nov.2005 to make aliyah. Our conversion was not accepted because the Rabbi was not recognized by the Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem, then that means that we came with a tourist visa. And we proceeded to make the orthodox conversion here in Israel in a way we can finished the aliyah process. We already submitted the Teudat hamara to Ministry of Interior .Do we still have olim rights? A: Yes you will as soon as you are citizens and have ID cards you should got to the Ministry of Absorption to apply for a Teudat Oleh (Immigrant Book) Q: I am a 64-year-old Reform Jew who wants to make Aliyah in 2008, possibly in May (I will then be 65). It seems so difficult and confusing. I assume I would have to sell my car and furniture; but where can I get answers to the many questions I have about employment (RN, BSN), living arrangements, Reform living, etc. etc. A: We suggest that you contact Ms. Liran Avissar who is the Reform Movement shaliach in New York. 212 339 6063. Q: I am a 55 year old Jewish man, with no military experience. If I move to Israel, could arrangements be made in advance for me to work in some field protecting / helping Jews? Am I eligible for the Reserves? Can I be a firefighter, security guard, something, anything, to help where the help is needed? All I need is a living wage and a place to sleep. I would like to do this for at least one year and then return. Can this be done? Any ideas or thoughts would be greatly appreciated. A: Begin by contacting Sarel Volunteers for Israel www.sar-el .org They might have something to offer you. Q: I am 43 and have not been in Israel since 1994. I am a citizen having converted to Judaism in 1989.One of the main barriers to my returning home to Israel is an elderly mother who lives alone. Am I reading the law of return correctly that if worse came to worse, she could join me in Israel? We had a great shaliah here who arranged 2 months mercaz klita and ulpan for me but when he went home to Israel his replacement said I wasn't eligible, as all my rights had expired. What is the real story for people whose life ends up in limbo because they wake up one day and realize they're living in the wrong country? A: Immigrant benefits are offered once to Immigrants. They are concessions and you either "use them" or "lose them". If your benefits have expired then as difficult as it is, you must try and calculate how you can live in Israel. Remember benefits only last for a short time. Sooner or later you need to stand alone and face the realities of life in Israel: Housing, employment. Health services etc etc. Q: Shalom. Having read the articles about Aliyah I have two questions: 1. My husband and I made aliyah in 1977 but had to return to the Uk in 1978. We are now free to return to Israel which we hope to do fairly soon. My husband has type 2 diabetes. Would he have to wait 10 months before getting medical care? A: It is quite likely under the National Insurance rule 58 that he will face a 12 months waiting period. You should check on the price of purchasing his medication on the private market. He might be able to get a supply from the UK for a period of time. Q: Are we able to bring into Israel our belongings/person effects without any restrictions. A: Customs benefits are for 3 years and you were only there for one. Depending on how many visits you have made to Israel since leaving, you should be able to ship your belongings. Don't ship until you have checked it out fully. Q: My name is Tom, I have a question- a problem, in 1990, my family moved to Israel, at the registration office in Ben-Gurion airport my name was 'meuvat' from Tomas to Tom, now I need to prove that my original name is Tomas- I have my birth certificate, which clearly states that I am Tomas, but in misrad hapnim they told me that there is nothing they can do (of course) What can I do? A: One is allowed to change ones name in Israel. There is a special form at the Ministry of Interior. Many Olim who e.g. come with names like George change them officially to Yigal. There is no reason why you shouldn't be able to do the same. Q: I am 43 would like to make aliyah and am interested in joining a religious kibbutz what should I do, who should I contact? Any suggestion? A: The Kibbutzim have a cut-of age and I fear you are over the age. There are not that many religious Kibbutzim, I suggest that you write them all. Q: Can someone who the IDF considers a "draft dodger" for leaving Israel shortly after becoming a permanent toshav at 18, revoke his/her citizenship/toshav status after 7 years and avoid further problems with the army? Does completely revoking citizenship/toshav status ensure that one can visit Israel as a tourist, or will one never be able to visit Israel again because the army will imprison them? A: An Israeli living abroad for at least 7 years can apply to have his Israeli Citizenship revoked. However this act does not exempt him from any previous problem that he might have had be it civil criminal or military, etc. Our advice in such a case is to apply to the Israeli Consulate abroad to ascertain whether there is any reason registered on their computer that might cause you problems if visiting Israel. 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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