Aliyah benefits are provided to new Olim by the State of Israel. Aliyah benefits are intended to ease the transition to life in Israel and remove potential disincentives to Aliyah. That said, while it is good to have some payments, discounts, services, and other forms of support, one is best advised not to make an Aliyah decision looking forward to huge gains. If the financial value of the benefits is enough to sway you, you may well be better off staying where you are now. The benefits may seem generous, but it is important to view the benefits accurately and keep them in perspective with the relatively high cost of living in Israel.
Eligible new Olim receive many benefits for an initial period, and some for life. The current roster of benefits includes:
Sal Klita (absorption basket) – Payments determined on age and family size are granted for 6 months, with the first payment in cash upon arrival and subsequent payments deposited into your Israeli bank account. A second six months of payments may also be available. All Sal Klita benefits are subject to eligibility and residency requirements.
Health Coverage – Basic health coverage through the health plan of your choice is provided at no cost to unemployed Olim for up to 12 months. Employed Olim pay for coverage through salary deductions. Additions to basic coverage are available, but always at the expense of the consumer.
Ulpan (Hebrew language instruction) – Adults are given up to 18 months of free Hebrew instruction at regional public and participating private language schools. The benefit is measured in classroom hours, and a variety of schedules allows the benefit to be consumed over different durations. Instruction must take place in the region determined by the address associated with your Teudat Zehut. Children in grades 1 through 12 are eligible to receive additional Hebrew instruction for the first year after Aliyah.
Rental Assistance – The Ministry of Housing provides varying levels of rental support payments (based on family status and length of time since Aliyah) starting after the 8th month from Aliyah for up to 5 years. The payments are not enough to pay the full rent, but are a partial subsidy.
Customs Exemptions – New Olim may bring appliances and other personal items from any country without paying customs fees at the time of Aliyah. Olim may bring up to 3 shipments of imported goods during the first 3 years. Appliances imported during the first three years are exempt from customs fees. Olim receive a discount on customs fees for up to up to $36,000 worth of equipment for establishing a business. Cars may be purchased or imported with a reduced tax rate by qualified Olim, but there are numerous requirements and restrictions that make it important to research such transactions thoroughly.
Tax Reductions – Property purchase tax, municipal Arnona taxes, and income taxes are all subject to exemptions or reductions of varying amounts for varying lengths of time. Olim purchasing property for their own residence in the first 2 years are eligible for reductions according to the purchase price of the property. Arnona reductions are available for 12 months, whether renting or owning the property. Income taxes are a more complicated situation, with 10 years of exemptions on active and passive income earned overseas, and 3.5 years of tax reductions on income earned in Israel.
Care should be taken when considering the foreign income exemption, as income generated by means of overseas email or phone calls by an Oleh in Israel are often considered local, not foreign, income. USA Social Security and public pension payments are exempted from taxation in both Israel and the USA under the current tax treaty. Many countries require their citizens to continue paying taxes after they become Israeli citizens, and it is wise to consult tax professionals well-versed in the laws of both Israel and your country of origin.
Special Mortgage Rates – Olim purchasing their first home in Israel are eligible for special mortgage rates for up to 15 years. These rates may be better than those available in the market, but this is not necessarily the case.
Tuition Subsidies – Students who begin studying for their first BA degree by the age of 17, or their first MA degree by the age of 30, and begin their studies within 3 years of Aliyah, are eligible for tuition reductions. Students under the age of 23 can receive reductions for a one-year preparatory course. All tuition reductions require enrollment in eligible institutions recognized by the relevant educational authority, Minhal Hastudentim, and other restrictions and requirements may apply.
Ma’on and Mishpachton (child daycare) tuition reductions – Reductions in fees at child care facilities recognized by the Ministry of the Economy are offered to working mothers and may be increased based on income.
All of the benefits mentioned above are subject to a variety of requirements and restrictions, and are subject to change. Your Aliyah coordinator can provide the current details, and more information is available at:
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