Ask the aliya experts: "How do I prove I'm Jewish"?

Vol L: I am thinking of moving to Israel, and wondering about how do I prove that I am a Jew? Both my parents are Jewish as far as I know and I was raised as one.

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.
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  • For Vols I to IX click here.
  • For Vols X to XIX click here.
  • For Vols XX to XXIX click here.
  • For Vols XXX to XXXIX click here.
  • For Vols XL to XLIII click here.
  • For Vols XLIV to XLVII click here.
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    Vol L
    Q: As a potential 'katin hozer' (aliyah by an Israeli who left when he was 8), do you if I get any tax cuts/help? Also is there any tax/costs on inheritance due to death?
    A: As a Katin Chozer most of your benefits are similar to those of a new Immigrant. Israel does not impose inheritance tax.
    Q: I am thinking of moving to Israel, and wondering about how do I prove that I am a Jew? Both my parents are Jewish as far as I know and I was raised as one. However, I don't think I have any "official" document that proves my religion. How do I prove my Jewishness?
    A: Speak to your parents, find out how they know that they are Jewish. Are your grandparents alive? Does anyone know your family ?Do you know any Rabbis?
    Q: I have been given two different charts for length of army service for olim. For healthy, single males age 23-25, one says six months and one says three. Which is true? Also, what is the flexibility to extend that time slightly?
    A: At the moment the answer is 6 months.
    Q: Hi, I immigrated to Israel in 1968 and left in 1971, I completed the army service and I have an Israeli passport. I am thinking to go back to Israel in a year for good and I like to know what benefits I could receive. Best regards and thank you.
    A: This depends on all sorts of factors. Please write to and they will be pleased to help you.
    Q: I made aliyah when I was 20 as a temporary resident (toshav arai), but I went back to Spain. Now I'm 40 and have a wife and two sons and thinking about definitely making Aliya. Will I have some army duty?
    A: No
    Q: Hello. I was born in Israel and moved to the US in 1992. I haven't been back to Israel since but was wondering: if I return, do I make re-aliya or what? what should I do if I want to resettle and am a natural born citizen?
    A: Please write to and they will instruct you.
    Q: My husband and want to make aliyah. I'm Jewish from birth and my husband has a Jewish father, non-Jewish mother and he converted to Judaism (Reform) here in the US Would he be considered Jewish in Israel?
    A: Both of you are eligible to make Aliyah according to the Law of Return. Whether he will be considered Jewish depends on who you ask! Certainly he will have all the benefits offered to Olim.
    Q: Olim have 3 years to purchase a new car with the discount. Does this mean the car must be ORDERED before the end of the term or the car must be DELIVERED through customs by the end of the term? Also what type of financing and down-payment is available to olim? Only banks?
    A: The car must be released from the Customs BEFORE the 3 year term expires. And, stick to banks; it's their job to lend money.
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    Vol XLIX
    Q: I just graduated law school in New York but have no long term working experience. I want to do my stage in Israel and then take the Israeli bar exam next year. I know that, in order to qualify for stag I have to take the dinei Israel exams. Unfortunately, the DI exams are not being given again until January and I had planned on coming this September. Should I put off aliyah until I can take the exams- or come in September anyway. Essentially, the question is whether or not someone will hire me before I have taken these exams or whether I have a very slim chance of finding work before I pass these tests. I've heard conflicting answers to this question.
    A: Thank you. The more people you ask the more opinions you will get. We advise to come and try to find work in law or something else until you can take the exams.
    Q: I, a Christian, have recently found out, that both my parents are descendants of Sephardic Jews.Years ago, I married a non-Jewish woman, and now have two sons. My sons and I really want to make aliya, as God commands not to leave any behind, in the near future. If a muslim Jew can make aliya, can my pro-Israeli family make aliya? Thanks.
    A: We are not sure what you mean by "a muslim jew?!!! We suggest you investigate your Sephardi background. Try
    Q: What are the requirements to become an Israeli citizen? I am planning on making aliya with my wife and kids.
    A: We suggest you start by completing the following link
    Q: I will be making ALIA in the next two to three weeks. I have some personal used items I want to send to Israel, probably prior to my arrival, in Israel. I am in Romania but need to go to Poland for personal reasons. In the meantime my used goods are at the forwarders's warehouse. I have an address in Israel where the goods can come. In a few days I will be charged storage charges. Can I send the goods with copy of my Aliya visa for customs purposes? Or I have to come before the goods. Thanks.
    A: An Oleh gets customs tax privileges and therefore must show documents such as the Immigrant Booklet. This document is only given to the Immigrant after they arrive. Therefore if for any reason your goods arrive before you there could arise all sorts of problems.
    Q: My mother was born in Zichron Yaakov which was then in Palestine under the Turks toi a family of original settlers there. Her birth certificate, which I have, is written in Turkish, but has the stamp of the Yishuv on it. She married an Australian soldier and moved to Australia during WWII where I was born post war. Am I eligible for an Israeli passport, and how would I go about getting one? I currently live in Santa Barbara, California, but have a lot of family still living in Israel and have been there many times. The family names were Pascal and Tamches.
    A: It sounds as if your mother left before July 1952. If so she did not receive Israeli citizen. Therefore you cannot be considered an Israeli citizen.
    Q: Dear sir, I made aliya 3 years ago and so I know that I have rights that I haven't used until now. One of those rights is to take a course for my professional relocation. I'm a software engineer and it is important to me to learn Autocad 2007 to perhaps found business to export from here to Mexico. I'm trying to ask what I must do here in Jerusalem, but I'm not receiving any answer from the government offices.Can you or your team simply address me to the correct place in Jerusalem???
    A: Please write to We are sure that they will help you.
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    Vol XLVIII
    Q: Why does the non-Jewish partner of a Jewish oleh have oleh rights too, while the non Jewish spouse of a returning resident [Israeli citizen] has none? I would think that the law of return would cover this situation and welcome the non-Jewish spouse.
    A: Whereas the non-Jewish spouse of an Oleh is included in the law of return, the Israeli comes under the law of Citizenship. Immigrant benefits are not included in this law, therefore non Jewish spouses of Israelis cannot receive the benefits.
    Q: My wife and I will retire in 7 years. Can we retire in Israel with our US pensions? How long before should we start our aliyah process? Will we lose our American citizenship?
    A: Three months should be enough time. Pensions are transferable and both Israel and the USA recognize dual nationality.
    Q: Hello, I am planning my Aliya for this winter and I would like to bring a brand new car. Can you please tell me what are the rules? What duties do I have to pay and if they are the same for a hybrid car or a diesel run car. Thank you.
    A: Experience shows that it is far more advisable to purchase your car in Israel than to import it personally. The purchase price abroad may be very attractive but after calculating the C.I.F. and then adding on the duties it invariably proves to be better to purchase in Israel.
    Q: Hi, I made Aliya in September of 2003, lived in Israel for 1 year and returned to the US just under a year ago. I will be moving back to Israel in January.
    My question is, in regards to my tuition benefit that expires at 3 years from my date of aliyah, when I left was that clock stopped so that I still have 2 years to use it or has it been running while I've been out of the country? And if it has been running, is it possible to request an extension?
    A: There is an appeals committee that will consider this type of request after you have returned to Israel.
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