Finally, Israel has a one-stop immigration service

Forty-five Russian, Kazakh Jews become first participants in pilot program that aims to address all aliya needs at airport.

Getting ID teudat zehut airport 311 (photo credit: Yitzhak Elharar / Scoop 80)
Getting ID teudat zehut airport 311
(photo credit: Yitzhak Elharar / Scoop 80)
Forty-five new immigrants from Russia and Kazakhstan are the first olim ever to receive an Israeli identification card issued at Ben-Gurion Airport.
The new immigrants arrived in Israel on Tuesday afternoon. They took part in a ceremony to mark a pilot project aimed at improving the service granted new immigrants upon their arrival.
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The new arrivals were greeted at the remodeled offices in Ben- Gurion’s Terminal 1 by Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver, Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky. With the classic song “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav” (Jerusalem of Gold) playing in the background, the new immigrants were handed certificates declaring them citizens of the state.
“Only someone who made aliya can appreciate the excitement we’re feeling,” said Landver. “The new project will substantially reduce the time and effort it takes immigrants to get their bureaucratic affairs in order. Instead of running around from one government office to another, the new immigrants will have a onestop shop right here at the airport.
“New immigrants remember the day of their arrival their whole lives,” she went on. “From now on, they will have an ID card to carry around that marks the day of their arrival and the day they became citizens.”
According to Immigration Absorption Ministry director-general Dimitry Apartsev, identification cards are only the first step.
“In the future we plan to provide the new immigrants with a complete basket of all the necessary services, so that they can start getting their new lives in order right here at the airport,” he said.
Apartsev said that further down the line, new immigrants would be able to open a bank account, register with a health service provider, and even purchase a mobile phone plan on the day of their arrival – all at the airport.
“Israel has been absorbing new immigrants from the day it was founded. I think all the old immigrants will now be jealous of the convenience the new immigrants enjoy,” said Landver.
Yishai greeted the new arrivals and praised them for their decision to immigrate.
“We pray that all the Jews in the world will come to Israel. It is a very important thing,” said Yishai. “Every wave of immigration enjoys additional benefits. From now on, all immigrants will benefit from rapid access to ID cards and even more services in the future.”
Yishai said that absorbing new immigrants was the job of many government ministries and that immigration touched on every aspect of life in Israel.
Added Sharansky, “Today we are embarking on an important path that will make the quick and efficient absorption of new immigrants a reality. New immigrants contribute to Israel’s might and strengthen its relations with Diaspora Jewry. Every immigrant is a bridge that connects his or her community in the Diaspora to their new-old homeland, Israel.
“We are thankful for every new immigrant who decided to move here and build their future and their children’s future here in Israel,” said Sharansky. “Receiving an Israeli ID card is a symbol of the Law of Return in action – new immigrants who receive their citizenship on their day of arrival by virtue of their being Jewish.”
In the upcoming days, an air convoy carrying 1,000 new immigrants from 25 countries around the world will arrive in Israel.
Landver said that her next goal was to move the entire operation to the new and modern Terminal 3.
“There is no reason why new immigrants should be received in this old terminal when every last tourist is welcomed in the new one,” she said. “I approached the prime minister on the subject and have the tentative agreement of the transportation minister. I hope that we will be able to move over in the near future.”