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How can I get an Israel passport?
July 10, 2010 8:31 PM   Subscribe

How can I, a non-Israeli Jew, get an Israeli passport?

I qualify as a Jew under Israeli's law of return. I'm wondering what the requirements and time line would be for me to get an Israeli passport? From what I've read if I move to Israel I would automatically become a citizen? Do I need to prove that I'm Jewish? Then after that could I immediately apply for a passport? Would I have to live there for a certain length of time?

Exactly what steps are required of me before going to Israel and then after arriving in Israel to acquire an Israel passport?
posted by bindasj to Law & Government (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
The Wikipedia page on the Law of Return has a lot of information and a link to the existing law. The Aliyah page also has some useful stuff.
posted by zadcat at 8:52 PM on July 10, 2010


Nefesh B'Nefesh should be able to answer all of your questions.
posted by andoatnp at 9:00 PM on July 10, 2010


The Jewish Agency's guide to making aliyah is about as comprehensive as it gets. There's a nice rundown at this blog.

Taking up residence in Israel under the Law of Return is technically distinct from gaining Israeli citizenship, though returning olim are granted citizenship as a matter of course; it takes a year's residence to become eligible for an Israeli passport, so it's very much not a case of arriving at Ben Gurion, picking up a passport and flying back.

(There's also the small matter of military service obligations, too.)
posted by holgate at 9:02 PM on July 10, 2010


Keep in mind that once you are a citizen, you have rights and responsibilities (such as military service, as noted above), and you are also subject to all laws of the country, such as things like departure taxes, customs laws and the like.

Additionally, you should check with the country you are currently a citizen of. The law of return provides citizenship rights under a *naturalization* process - no oath of allegiance is required - which is the reasons that American citizens can hold dual Israeli/US citizenship. Certain countries require that you discard your current citizenship (but I can't tell you which ones).

Also keep in mind that having an Israeli passport as your sole passport creates travel and security issues. You will want to carefully consider ever flying over Arab airspace (in case of an emergency landing). It's not the most popular passport in the world, and border officials anywhere can give you a hard time just because they feel like it. Certain hotels in Southeast Asia don't allow Israelis (for a lot of reasons that aren't political) and will suddenly tell you that there's a mistake and the hotel is full once they see your passport.

Don't pursue Israeli citizenship unless it is personally meaningful to you, or you have no other choice (political persecution in your home country). It was a big deal to me when I got my passport, and I will never relinquish my citizenship even though I have no intentions to go back to Israel and live there again.

And I mean this kindly, and don't mean to imply any nefarious intent, but - If you think it is some kind of golden ticket to an EU passport, think again.
posted by micawber at 7:09 AM on July 11, 2010


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