Flexible aliya plan presented to Knesset

According to initiative, Jews will be able to move to Israel temporarily and receive residency status.

French Olim 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
French Olim 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
A new program being developed by the Jewish Agency and the government seeks to bring Diaspora Jews to Israel on a kind of temporary aliya - or long-term residency - during which they will experience life in Israel before deciding whether to move to the country permanently. The program, dubbed "flexible aliya," was presented by Jewish Agency director-general Moshe Vigdor in a meeting of the Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee on Tuesday morning. It is being developed jointly by the JA and the Interior and Immigrant Absorption ministries. According to the new initiative, Jews from around the world will be able to move to Israel for a period ranging from several months to several years, during which they will be able to work, study and volunteer in the country. The exact nature of the new residency status is being determined in discussions with the Interior Ministry, but Jewish Agency officials said Tuesday that the status would be more than a tourist and less than an immigrant. This might mean eligibility for state-funded Hebrew courses, but not for the tax breaks and partially funded university studies contained in the aliya absorption package, while the compulsory military service of olim would not be required but other unspecified civic duties could be imposed. At the Knesset meeting, Vigdor noted that 10 percent of participants in Masa, a program that brings up to 8,000 Jewish college-age youth to Israel each year for 5-month and year-long programs, end up making aliya within two years.