Sunday, 27 December 2009

The "Red Carpet" is rolled out for you too...

If you discover something great, you should do what you can to cherish it and keep it alive. That is exactly what the Jewish Agency are doing.

The summer of 2009 saw the first of many Jewish Agency UK group flights and welcomed over 100 new Olim.

From strength to strength the Jewish Agency and Shlichim in the UK developed this initiative and have created a calendar of scheduled flights for 2010. As you have seen in the past, the participants on these group flights received a plethora of services all in the first 24 hours of arrival with their health care, banks, cell phone and most importantly Teudat Zehut in their hands and all taken care of by the time they are sent to their first home in Israel.

It is worth checking out some testimonials and details for future flights.


With services like these, it would be a shame to miss out.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

If you are already here, you might as well...

Changing your status within Israel from tourist, student or other types of visas to Oleh Chadash has always been a daunting and scary thought. For years one had to present a series of documents to the Misrad Hapnim (Ministry of Interior), have an interview and then wait 6-8 weeks for an answer as to whether you have been approved. Heaven forbid you should forget a document or a small detail on your form, as this would lead to an even longer wait.

Thankfully, the Jewish Agency has now introduced another option to changing your status within Israel. Essentially, you will be required to present all the same documents and details, but the main difference is that now you will have someone following you case and letting you know if there is any element of you file that needs to be updated or clarified. Furthermore, they will help you liaise with the Misrad Hapnim to ensure that you understand all the requirements, that your file is being processed appropriate, as well as leaving you feeling that you experienced a pleasant and easy process.

All that being said, just because the Jewish Agency is there to help it does not mean that they will do all the work for you. It is very important that you make sure you have all the appropriate and relevant documents with you, but just to be sure, here is a list to help you check that you are on the right track.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Tight budgets places Olim in Catch 22

As much as it is unpleasant to be the bearer of bad news, it seems that until further notice the Voucher Project has been suspended due to budget cuts.

The Voucher Project, a great initiative by the Misrad Haklita (Ministry of Absorption), offered Olim Chadashim the opportunity to retrain themselves or take on vocational courses to enhance and further their career by paying for up to 80% of the course (up to NIS 10 000). With this benefit put on hold, Olim are now put in a problematic situation. Olim who were hoping to use this benefit are now in a vicious "catch 22". Without the Voucher Project, many people may be left out of work without the funds to retrain themselves to become more employable.

Let's just hope that in 2011 the budget is restored and this wonderful benefit is reintroduced to help the hundreds of Olim that use it every year.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

They did it again!

Once again, the Jewish Agency has made history by successfully bringing over 170 Olim Chadashim from all around the world, on a group experience dubbed "Aliyah on a Red Carpet".

October 14th marked a special day for dozens of Olim who, upon arrival were bussed to Jerusalem for their first days as new immigrants in Israel. The Olim we taken to the Shalom Hotel where they would spend 2 days filled with welcome ceremonies, Aliyah fairs - allowing them to set up all the first steps in the space of 4 hours, as well as have an opportunity to network and meet many other Olim who together share the same meaningful Aliyah date.

Before being sent to their final destinations, the Olim received their Teudot Zehut at a wonderful ceremony on the grounds of the main Jewish Agency building in Jerusalem. Attended by the Minister of Absorption and other honoured guests, the ceremony truly was a celebration of Aliyah. These new immigrants no doubt felt like royalty, as the "Red Carpet" was rolled out to greet them as
Olim Chadashim in Israel.

We wish them the best of luck and an easy, smooth

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Good luck to an old friend...

For many Olim arriving to Jerusalem, there is a place that is hidden in the back streets of the German Colony, in a lush, green campus that is a haven for friendly, easy going people.

Merkaz Hamagshimim Hadassah, affectionately known as The Merkaz, for many years has serviced the
Oleh community. It has acted as the first home for hundreds of Olim Chadashim and has offered them a sense of community from the first day they arrived. The Merkaz has been a unique combination of Abosption Center and Community Center with regular events, chugim, theater productions and much more.

For years, The Merkaz has been nestled in the quiet suburb of the German Colony, where it housed the many
Olim. As of December 31st 2009, The Merkaz will be taking up new residence at 6 Rehov Tzippora in Baka, Jerusalem. With the move, The Merkaz will be transitioning into a new Community Center, offering the favourites from the old and introducing the best of the new.

Let's continue to support this great project! Let's welcome The Merkaz to there new home and show them the appreciation they deserve!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

A Job Seeker's Solution

Once again, the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption has decided to step in and help those Olim Chadashim seeking employment.

In what seems to have become an annual event, The Employment Fair for Tel Aviv-Yafo & Central Israel 2009, is set to have many job opportunities in various fields. The event will take place on Tuesday September 8th, between 12 noon and 5 p.m at the Tel Aviv-Yafo Fairgrounds, Pavilion 20.

For more info on the event, click the image below.

Hope you make it down there and land yourself a great job!

Monday, 17 August 2009

Back to school!

With the summer coming to an end and the kids a little older (and full of sand), the time has come to begin planning for the next school year. But it seems that not only families are getting themselves ready.

Bituach Leumi, in a new initiative, has decided to give a stipend to single-parent and large families grants to help cover back-to-school costs. Those families who are eligible to receive the grant should find the money deposited in their accounts some time this week, intended to be used for school supplies.

It seems that the families that qualify will receive NIS 1,383 for children aged 6-11 and NIS 768 for each child aged 12-14.

As always, it is worth checking the terms and conditions with Bituach Leumi first...

Good luck in the new school year!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Aliyah from the UK: Making Zionistic history

After many months of preparation and hard work, the Jewish Agency for Israel, in conjunction with UJIA and Ebenezer, made history on Tuesday 11th of August and brought over the first Jewish Agency flight from the United Kingdom, followed by a 24-hour welcoming ceremony.

Over 100 Olim Chadashim (new immigrants), ranging in age from 3 months to 90 years, travelled on the late-night El Al flight. After a 10:06pm landing, the group of Olim were welcomed at the gate by Jewish Agency, UJIA and Ebenezer staff and then escorted to Terminal 1 where they were processed by the Ministry of Absorption within a speedy hour and a half.

With their new Teudot Oleh in hand and bags on the bus, the Olim were brought to the Shalom Hotel in Jerusalem to spend the next two nights on account of the Jewish Agency.

The next morning the Olim gathered for a UJIA presentation which explained the host of services provided by the British organization. The Olim met with UJIA staff for private consultations, spoke with representatives from the Kupot Cholim, organised their bank accounts, took care of their shipments with the Customs Authority, signed up for mobile phones, and even received free one-month subscriptions to an English-language newspaper. It was a truly jam-packed opportunity for the Olim to organise their new start - all before 1:00pm.

After a hearty lunch, the Olim were driven to the Kotel for an emotional welcoming ceremony in which they received their Teudot Zehut. In attendance were guest speakers, ministry representatives and community leaders. Even regular passers-by stopped to applaude the Olim as they were called family by family to collect their documents of Israeli citizenship.

After a few minutes to digest their new status, the Olim approached the final event of the day: a festive, celebratory dinner sponsored by the UJIA. A stunning view of Jerusalem's Old City was the backdrop of the evening, with dinner being held at the Beit Meirsdorf hall in Mt Scopus. With live entertainment, cocktails and a four course dinner, the event was reminsicent of the newlywed excitment of a wedding.

The evening ended with the Olim being presented with goodies, including decorative mezuzot for their new homes in Israel.

The following morning, all the Olim were taken to their final destinations across the county, including Kibbutz Ulpan, Ra'anana, Modiin, Haifa, Eilat, and others.

This was truly a fantastic event and a wonderful experience for all, including the organizers. Yet another great achievement was had by the Aliyah movement.

We at UJIA wish all of the Olim the best of luck and extend our support and services.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Let's Celebrate!

The Jewish Agency has organised a group flight of 100 Olim Chadashim that are expected to arrive in Israel on the 11th August. As this is a very big and exciting event, they decided to spread the word and invite all to the Kotel for a welcoming ceremony...

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

The opening of the Lone Soldier Center in Jerusalem

In honour of Michael Levine z"l, a new Lone Soldier Center will be opening at Tzeirim BaMerkaz in Jerusalem.

The new center is designed to help the needs of lone soldiers by giving them a place to come and be with people and friends, to socialise and to receive support. The center will have internet access, laundromat and other services that lone soldiers will be able to benefit from.

The center is located at 42 Agripas St, Jerusalem and can be contacted on 02 623 2224.

A very worthwhile initiative for the soldiers who need all of our support.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Living it up in Tel Aviv!

Living in Tel Aviv as many advantages - that is of course if you can stomach the humidity. From a vibrant business district to an "always happening" night-life, Tel Aviv is a unique non-stop shop...

But as an
Oleh Chadash, how do you know where to go to find the right atmosphere you are looking for?

Thankfully, a dedicated
Oleh decided to remedy the issue and create Telalivit, a social network site that shows you the ropes, publicises events, and helps you find friends.

It is certainly worth checking it out.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Update: VAT Increase

The Finance Minister decided to raise the VAT (Value Added Tax) by 1%, putting it up to 16.5%.

The rise in tax will go into effect as of 1st July 2009 until 31st December 2010.

This means that you may feel a slight increase in prices on certain goods and services.

If you want to understand more, here is an explanation.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

IVF in Israel

Often IVF is a very taboo topic of discussion. Not many Olim feel comfortable talking about it or admitting that it is an issue for them. However, that's where Israelis are often different: many are very comfortable discussing all things related to pregnancy and children.

It is the Israeli favorable attitude towards family and children that set them apart from the rest, which is especially evident in the country's policy towards IVF treatments.

As the country's health services are facilitated by the
Kupat Cholim, all have a Va'adat Poriut (Fertility Committee) whose role is to decide whether IVF is the only option left to have children. Once IVF is approved for the couple, they are entitled to receive unlimited treatments until they have 2 children together. There are potentially 6 treatments a year, as the kupot usually like to wait at least one menstral cycle between unsuccessful treatments.

Interestingly, the IVF treatment is determined for the couple and not the individual, which means that if both members of the couple have children from previous relationships, but have had trouble in their current relationship, they are still entitled to unlimited treatment.

Once a couple has 2 successful treatments and have 2 children, there is no other IVF treatmens in the State's main basket, however every kupah offers extra treatments as part of their supplimentary baskets.

The amazing thing is that there is no waiting period for Olim Chadashim. As soon as you become a resident of Israel and obtain your Teudat Zehut you are eligible to begin treatments in the main basket. For the supplimentary basket, you may have to wait a year to qualify.

Israel is a family-friendly country. That is why the government here is willing to work so hard to give everyone the opportunity of having a family of their own.


Thursday, 11 June 2009

Am I under arrest?

The reasons behind making Aliyah can vary from person to person. Some people choose to make Aliyah for ideological reasons, some choose it for employment opportunities and some decide to make Aliyah for reasons they can't explain...they just feel in love with the place.

Whatever the reason, making Aliyah involves bureaucracy.

So to make life easier for everyone, the Misrad Hapnim (Ministry of Interior) decided to implement a new requirement for those who are in Israel and would like to change there status through their office.

The new rule now requires anyone changing their status with the
Misrad Hapnim to present a "character reference or police report" from their country of origin. This means that one must contact the authorities in the relevant country or state and apply for this document.

And if you thought that was all you had to do, you are mistaken. As the report is an official goverment document, it must receive an apostille stamp on it to verify that it is authentic.

So, adding approximately 3 weeks to the process, all of you on tourist/student/work visas who are looking to become Olim Chadashim in Israel should take this into account and factor it into your timeframe.

Wishing you all a speedy application...

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

אני מדבר אנגלית

It seems that the Jerusalem Municipality is getting better at dealing with English-speaking Olim. In the past it has been difficult to receive assistance in English but as of late the Municipality has decided to make a new effort.

It seems that if you email them regarding
Arnona (Municipal Taxes) in English, they will reply to you in English too. Here is the magical email address:

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Choose the right Health Fund, it's the best way to keep healthy ...

Going to the doctor means that you are not feeling well. At the very least, you will want to understand what your doctor is saying. So how do you know which doctor to choose?

Well, let's go one step back. How do you choose the
Kupat Cholim (Health Fund) that is best for you?

Many things will lead to you making this decision, but there are only a few things that will really seal the deal.

When choosing a
Kupat Cholim, you should consider whether they have doctors that you feel comfortable with, whether they have clinics that are close and convenient for you to get to - especially when you are feeling under the weather, and you should check to see which Kupah has the supplementary basket that is best suited to your needs.

Obviously everyone has their own opinion as to which is best, but that is why you should make the decision that is right for

Below are contact details of English-speaking representatives for you to speak to, so that you can finally understand what each
Kupah is offering.


Maccabi Health Fund

Dr Tanya Cardash
050 880 1551


Meuhedet Health Fund

Devorie Jacobson
02 990 3888
050 661 7547


Clalit Health Fund

Mashi Kadar
02 644 8168
050 626 0280


Leumit Health Fund

Pnina Dolev
09 892 6301
050 642 9247


Thursday, 30 April 2009

My child has how many passports?

An email from a new oleh and a new father:

"As the cycle of life continues, my new son entered the world last week. In preparation for his birth, all was considered. Bedroom furniture - check; Pram - check; nappies - check; and the list goes on. However the one thing that was not considered was that our child would have his own identity.

The day after the brit, I, the sleep-deprived father went to the Misrad Hapnim with the hospital proof that my son was born. Once presenting the form and the Teudot Zehut of my wife and myself, my son was officially registered as Israeli, receiving his birth certificate. As things were closing up, the clerk turned to me and said, "Come back with photos another time so that we can arrange a passport for him".

At that point it dawned on me, there is not only one passport application that needs to be filled out, there are three!

And so, the process of three passport applications began - essentially a competition of which country's bueracracy was the better one or worse.

Let's hope all work out fine."

Applications for citizenship and passports can be made by contacting the appropriate embassies:

United Kingdom


New Zealand

South Africa


Friday, 17 April 2009

Prepare yourself before you travel

Israeli citizenship is conferred 90 days after making Aliyah. Once you hold Israeli citizenship, you are required by law to enter and exit Israel on an Israeli Passport ot Travel Document (Teudat Ma’avar).

If planning to travel within 90 days of making Aliyah, an Oleh should make sure to ask for a letter from Misrad Hapnim, confirming that he or she is allowed to leave the country using a foreign passport.

After 90 days a temporary Travel Document (Teudat Ma’avar) should be applied for. Once your temporary Travel Document has expired, you are then eligible to apply for a full Israeli passport.

A passport or Teudat Ma'avar is applied for in person at the Interior Ministry (Misrad Hapnim). All members of the family require their own passport. This includes babies and they must be present when their parent or guardian makes the application.

The information desk in the entrance to Misrad Hapnim will be able to supply you with a form to fill in and in addition one will need the following:

  • Teudat Zehut
  • 2 passport photos
  • Cash – NIS 125 for a Teudat Ma’avar, NIS 250 for a full passport, NIS 125 for a full passport for Minors (under 18 years old).

The passport will be sent to you via mail. It usually arrives quickly, however one should apply well in advance of any travel plans.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

A Tribute to Frank Stein z"l

Frank Stein was a man who spent his life giving, be it the smile he always shared whenever he met you, or his endless selflessness that came through personally and professionally.

From the start of his career, Frank always put himself in a position to help others. Being a Madrich on Machon Le'Madriche Chul, helping new Olim at the BOS or assisting Australians in Israel while Director of the Israel office of ZFA, Frank always went the extra step to change a professional relationship into a personal friendship.

Frank was an asset to Israel and the Aliyah world and he will be missed greatly. Frank touched so many people and through his work and his warm nature, his memory will not be forgotten.

Friday, 6 March 2009

UJIA's Contact Group

For some time, UJIA has been running a social absorption group that encourages young Olim Chadashim to meet and share their Aliyah experiences.

The “Contact” support group was created as a response to the needs of Olim Chadashim in the Tel Aviv area.

Groups of between 12 and 15 people meet once every two weeks to meet other recent Olim in the same age group. Each week vital issues are discussed dealing with the challenges of living a new life in Israel.

Seminars and workshops on “Culture Shock” and “How to survive and thrive in the current situation in Israel” have attracted large numbers of Olim in their first two years of Aliyah.

To find out more information about taking part in a "Contact" group, please e-mail

Thursday, 19 February 2009

New initiative for Olim English Teachers

Teachers for Israel

Become an English Teacher in Israel

The Jewish Agency in partnership with the Ministry of Education,
Ministry of Immigrant Absorption and Nefesh B'Nefesh

Presents a new program that includes:

• Teachers training and Teaching certificate
• Placement in a school
• Housing Assistance
• Hebrew Ulpan
• Financial Assistance

Who can apply?

Single or married Aliyah candidates who hold a BA degree in any field or discipline (age 20-35)

The program will begin in July 2009

Limited space

To learn more and apply to the program contact your Aliyah Shaliach at:

Sunday, 15 February 2009

UJIA? Who is that?

With decisions made, visas arranged and bags packed, the last thing that a potential Oleh will be told in their final meeting with their Aliyah Shaliach is “When you arrive, your first call should be to the UJIA”.

UJIA Israel Aliya and Klita Department has a proud tradition of helping Olim in all aspects of their Aliya and absorption processes.

UJIA Israel, incorporating the British Olim Society (BOS), is the immigrant association for Olim from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Scandinavia and is committed to assisting the absorption process of Olim into Israeli society. These activities perfectly complement UJIA Israel’s other roles that include the implementation of over a thousand physical projects, organization of visiting missions and working with short and long term programmes with British youth.

Our team of Aliyah counsellors, based in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Ra’anana is always on hand to give assistance, from initial advice on Aliyah benefits and guidance through the maze of Israeli bureaucracy, a social networking group, and our well equipped Employment Resource Centre.

UJIA Israel’s easy-to-navigate and up-to-date website is an excellent resource for information concerning Aliyah and living in Israel, and our online newsletter will keep you informed about everything that you need to know. Visit the site today and register to receive out online newsletter.

No time limits are placed on eligibility for assistance – if you are a potential Oleh or made Aliyah yesterday, 1 year or 50 years ago, UJIA Israel is here to help you. We look forward to seeing you in one of our offices soon!