Aliyah to Israel

Aliyah is the immigration of Jews to the Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael). It is one of the most basic tenets of Zionist ideology. The return to the Holy Land has been a Jewish aspiration since the Babylonian exile. Large scale immigration to Eretz Israel and later Israel began in 1882.
Aliyah is a Hebrew word that means "ascent," or "going up." According to Jewish tradition, traveling to the Land of Israel is an ascent, both geographically and metaphysically. Visiting Jerusalem, situated 2,700 feet above sea level, was also an "ascent."
Aliyah is an important Jewish cultural concept and a fundamental component of Zionism. It is enshrined in Israel's Law of Return, which accords any Jew (deemed as such by halakha and/or Israeli secular law) and eligible non-Jews (a child and a grandchild of a Jew, the spouse of a Jew, the spouse of a child of a Jew and the spouse of a grandchild of a Jew), the legal right to assisted immigration and settlement in Israel, as well as Israeli citizenship. Someone who "makes aliyah" is called an oleh (m. singular) or olah (f. singular); the plural for both is olim.

Historical background

Return to the Land of Israel is a recurring theme in Jewish prayers recited every day, three times a day, and holiday services on Passover and Yom Kippur traditionally conclude with the words "Next year in Jerusalem." Because Jewish lineage can provide a right to Israeli citizenship, aliyah (returning to Israel) has both a secular and a religious significance.
The number of Jews migrating to the Land of Israel rose significantly between the 13th and 19th centuries, mainly due to a general decline in the status of Jews across Europe and an increase in religious persecution.


Who can make Aliyah

Because of the relatively high economic status of Israel, many people wish to immigrate to Israel. As Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people, Israel provides Aliyah permits to only Jewish people by their birthright. Therefore, a person who wishes to make Aliyah to Israel first of all has to provide evidence of having Jewish parents.
This initial stage is generally handled by the local representatives of the Jewish Agency in your country.

The Law of Return is Israeli legislation, passed on 5 July 1950, that gives Jews the right of return and settlement in Israel and gain citizenship. In 1970, the right of entry and settlement was extended to people of Jewish ancestry, and their spouses.

Eligibility requirements

Those who emigrate to Israel under the Law of Return are immediately entitled to citizenship. However, differences of opinion have arisen as to whether a person who claims citizenship under the Law of Return should be automatically registered as "Jewish" for census purposes.
According to the halakhic definition (Halacha - is the collective body of religious laws for Jews, including biblical law (the 613 mitzvot) and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions), a person is Jewish if his or her mother is Jewish, or if he or she converts to Judaism. Orthodox Jews do not recognize conversions performed by Reform orConservative Judaism. However, the Law provides that any Jew regardless of affiliation may migrate to Israel and claim citizenship.

Originally, the Law of Return was restricted to Jews only. A 1970 amendment, however, stated that, "The rights of a Jew under this Law and the rights of an oleh under the Nationality Law... are also vested in a child and a grandchild of a Jew, the spouse of a Jew, the spouse of a child of a Jew and the spouse of a grandchild of a Jew." This resulted in several hundreds of thousands of persons fitting the above criteria immigrating to Israel (mainly from the former Soviet Union) but not being recognized as Jews by the Israeli religious authorities, which on the basis of halakha recognize only the child of a Jewish mother as being Jewish.
A Jew can be excluded from Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return if he or she is considered to be dangerous to the welfare of the State of Israel. Jews who have a past that involves a serious crime, such as murder, or who are fugitives in another country for any felony (unless they are persecution victims) can be denied the right of return, (e.g.Meyer Lansky, Victor Vancier). The Law of Return also excludes any "person who has been a Jew and has voluntarily changed his religion."


How to make Aliyah

As a first step to make Aliyah from your country of origin, you will have to contact a local Jewish Agency representative ( A Shaliach ) in your country.
From North America, you'll have to contact Nefesh B'Nefesh instead.
From United Kingdom you'll have the option to choose either to make Aliyah directly through the Jewish Agency or through Nefesh B'Nefesh which gives you also financial support.

Please follow our detialed guide by your region:

Aliyah from within Israel
Aliyah from North America
Aliyah from Latin America
Aliyah from Europe
Aliyah from Former Soviet Union
Aliyah from South Africa
Aliyah from Australia & New Zealand
Aliyah from Ethiopia
Aliyah from India
Aliyah from Arab Countries

Once you apply for Aliyah you'll be invited for an interview regarding your Jewish background, your family status, your Israeli past and about your motivation for Aliyah.
Now you'll have to wait to receive an approval letter and invitation for a second meeting, which will be for planning your Aliyah and your flight to Israel.
Once you arrive to Israel you're considered as an Oleh Chadash (New immigrant).

Please visit our "Step-by-step" Guide of a first arrival to Israel as a New Oleh.

Organizations for Olim

To obtain further information and advice regarding Aliyah from your country of origin, you can connect any of the organizations of Olim in Israel from the list below.

Organizations of Olim in Israel
Alef Ledoroth - Association Francophones en Israel02.6234114
AIUAlliance Israelite
Association for Education and Social Integration of Ethiopian Jews in Israel072.2507400
AACIAssociation of Americans and Canadians in Israel02.5661181
AICEOAssociation of Israelis of Central European Origin
Vereinigung der Israelis mitteleuropaischer Herkunft
Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel03.6964812
Association of Tunisian Jews09.8333477
Beit Oleh America - Netanya AACI09.8330950
Bulgarian Jews
Damascus (Syria) Jewry Organization in Israel03.6881567
ESRAEnglish Speaking Residents Association - Volunteering together for the community09.9508371
Gvahim training and workshops for qualified olim from around the world03.5347538
Historical Society of Jews From Egypt
Indian Jewish Community in Israel050.2212409
IOHIrgoen Olei Holland03.5625611
UJIAIsrael - British Olim Society02.6202475
Israel Association for Ethiopian Jews02.6233316
JIJAJerusalem Italian Jews Association02.6241610
Kurdish Jewry Organization02.6240850
NBNNefesh B'Nefesh - Aliyah from North America and from the United Kingdom1.212.734.2111
Organization of Romanian Expatriates in Israel03.6121533
OBIOriginaires de Belgique en Israel02.6223022
Other Olim organizations
PNAIParents of North American Israelis
Shavei Israel - Israel returns02.6256230
Telfed - South African Zionist Federation in Israel09.7446110
Union of Jews from Turkey in Israel03.6582936
World Congress of Georgian Jews03.6204557
World Federation of Moroccan Jewry
World Organization of Libyan Jews03.5336268

Government Benefits

The Israeli Government offers a wide range of Zechuyot - financial benefits designed to help new Olim with expenses such as health insurance, Hebrew studies, education, housing, customs tax and more. Zechuyot are valid for a limited time period; and inspaniduals with an Israeli background may not be eligible.

Sal Klita (Absorption Basket)

Financial assistance provided by Misrad Haklita (Ministry of Immigrant Absorption). You will receive an initial cash payment at Ben Gurion Airport, followed by seven installments which will be deposited into your bank account during the first seven months following your Aliyah (Olim must provide bank account details to Misrad Haklita before they can receive the second payment).

Singles receive approximately 17,820 NIS. A family of five receives between 54,971 NIS and 62,049, depending on the ages of the children.

Paid out over the first six months after Aliyah, between the 1st and 15th of each month. If an Oleh leaves Israel during the first six months (regardless of reason), payments are stopped. The payments can easily be restarted by visiting Misrad Haklita. If an Oleh returns to Israel 13 months or more after Aliyah, payments are discontinued.
To review exact sums, see: Sal Klita Calculator

This assistance is granted only to those who spent less than 18 months in Israel (consecutive or cumulative) during the three years prior to making Aliyah; or no longer than three years in Israel, during the seven years prior to making Aliyah. For a Katin Chozer this assistance is granted only to those who have spent less than one year in Israel prior to Aliyah.

If you are a Ktin Chozer or a former A-1 temoorary resident you will not receive your first payment at the airport, instead you will receive both initial payments via wire transfer after being issued a Teudat Oleh or a Teudat Zakaut at your local Misrad Haklita.

Rent Subsidy

A single Oleh (2nd to 4th year after Aliyah) receives 223 NIS/month. In the 5th year, the subsidy will be 89 NIS/month. An Oleh family receives 402 NIS/month in the 2nd year, 322 NIS/month in the 3rd year, 223 NIS/month in the 4th year and 99 NIS/month in the 5th year.

Begins automatically 13 months after Aliyah.
See: Rental Assistance

Health Coverage

Full coverage in any Kupat Cholim (Health Fund); free coverage for those who are unemployed. For an Oleh who is working, the health insurance payments are deducted directly from the Oleh’s salary.

First 12 months after Aliyah.
See: Healthcare

If you are a former A-1 temporary resident, this benefit does not apply and you will need to start paying Bituach Leumi payments upon Aliyah. 


Free Hebrew Ulpan course, available in many locations around Israel. The address that appears on an Oleh’s Teudat Zehut dictates the location of that inspanidual’s Ulpan.

Olim must apply within the first 18 months after your Aliyah. A standard Ulpan course lasts for 5 months (5 days a week, 5 hours a day).
See: Hebrew Ulpan

Customs Benefits

Olim are allowed to bring appliances and household goods from ANY COUNTRY tax-free.

In addition, Olim are eligible to purchase Israeli-made appliances tax free in Israel. The only Israeli manufactured appliances on the market are refrigerators and air conditioners.

Olim can import appliances tax-free for up to three years after Aliyah, and may bring up to three shipments of imported goods. Olim have up to three years to purchase an Israeli-manufactured air conditioner tax-free and four years to purchase an Israeli-manufactured refrigerator.

Extensions are granted for military service, full time study, or if you have left Israel for more than six consecutive months.

See: Buying Tax Free Appliances in Israel

If you are a Katin Chozer, Ezrach Oleh or a former A-1 temporary resident, your final status will be clarified only after opening a file with Meches (the Customs Authority). You will need to provideMeches with all documents that you previously provided to your Aliyah Shaliach. It is recommended not to ship a container from abroad before there is a final decision about your status.

Customs Benefits for a Car Purchased or Imported

Olim pay a reduced tax rate on the purchase of a new car in Israel or the import of a car from abroad. In order to be eligible for the tax reduction, Olim must hold a valid foreign driver's license that was issued at least three months prior to the date of Aliyah. A valid Israeli driver's license is also required. The benefit is valid only for a new car or "Passport to Passport" purchase. Importing a car is a detailed process that should only be pursued following thorough research regarding the costs and benefits. 

Available up to 3 years after Aliyah.
See:Buying a Car in Israel and Importing a Car

Maximum Sum of Money Olim Can Bring to Israel

The maximum amount of cash that an Oleh can bring into Israel is 1,125,000 NIS (combined sum in the reporting person's possession). From this sum and above, you will need to report to customs by filling out a form that is available online at: Please see the Israel Tax Authority website for details. (In the Information Guides section, see the Customs Guide for Oleh and Foreign Resident.)

Applicable only for the Aliyah flight. Please speak with a qualified accountant for further details.

Israeli Income Tax Break

Discounted income tax payments on income earned in Israel. The income tax reduction works on a point system, where one point is equal to 215 NIS. New Olim receive three points per month (645 NIS) during the first 18 months after Aliyah, two points over the next 12 months, and one point during the last 12 months. Once you begin to work, advise your employer that you are an Oleh, so that you receive this benefit.

Olim are eligible for the tax reduction on income earned in Israel over the first 3.5 years after Aliyah. If you begin university studies or army service during the first 18 months after your Aliyah, you may submit a request to the Income Tax Authority to freeze your benefits for the duration of your studies or army service (the benefits can be frozen for a period not exceeding 42 months from your date of Aliyah).

Foreign Income Tax Break

Tax breaks on passive and active income earned overseas.

Olim are eligible for tax breaks on passive and active income earned overseas for 10 years after Aliyah. Please check with an accountant to confirm eligibility; there may be some restrictions based on residency for those who have lived in Israel for an extended time period, prior to Aliyah. 
For more information, please consult with an accountant. See: Tax Benefits on Income Earned Abroad

Arnona (Reduced Municipal Tax)

All cities and towns in Israel charge Arnona (property tax), whether you are renting or own your own property. Olim are customarily granted a discount of 70 - 90% (for up to 100 sqm.) on Arnona payments.

Available for Olim to use during one of the first two years after Aliyah, for one 12-month period.
See: Arnona

Ktinim Chozrim are currently not eligible for this benefit.

Mortgage Discount

Low interest rates, compared to other market rates, for up to about 150,000 NIS. Olim need to obtain a Teudat Zakaut (Certificate of Eligibility), which is issued by the Ministry of Housing through the mortgage banks.

Granted up to 10 years after Aliyah. This benefit is only granted for the purchase of a first home in Israel.
See:Mortgage and Purchase Tax Benefits

Free One-Way Ticket to Israel

Only available when making Aliyah from abroad. Only economy class can be flown. The Aliyah flights are funded by the Jewish Agency for Israel. Nefesh B’Nefesh recommends that Olim join a Nefesh B'Nefesh group or charter flight. However, inspaniduals who would like to fly without a group can contact our toll free number at 1-866-4-ALIYAH to reserve a flight.

Only for the Aliyah flight. Olim who pay for their own tickets are not eligible for a refund for the cost of the flight.

Free Transportation from Ben Gurion Airport

Olim receive a free taxi to their destination.

One time only - for the Aliyah flight.

University Tuition Break

Candidates up to the age of 23 can receive assistance for Mechina (preparatory year course). Candidates up to the age of 27 can receive assistance for a BA and candidates up to the age of 30 can receive assistance for an MA.
Student Benefits are provided by the Student Authority. Students who are studying for an MA may be eligible for a subsidy covering up to a year of Hashlamot (prerequisite classes), in addition to assistance with the cost of the degree. Students who choose to study in a one year MA program are eligible to receive two years of assistance to use towards the cost of their studies.

Must start studies within 3 years after Aliyah or within the proper time frame given the student's age. For example, if you make Aliyah at age 26, you will have one year to start your BA studies, as the benefit is only granted to students up to the age of 27. A student must study at an institution of higher education recognized by the Student Authority.
See: Student Aliyah
See: Higher Education in Israel


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