Moving to Israel

Thinking of moving to Israel?

They have a special name for when Jews move to Israel, it's called making Aliyah. Aliyah is a Hebrew word that means “going up” – but since Israel isn’t at all close to being the highest place on the planet, you can safely conclude that the term is used in a spiritual way.

Aliyah to Israel is the term used to describe Jewish people that are coming back from the Diaspora to the land of Israel. So this subject is only relevant for Jewish people. There are however other ways to immigrate to Israel if you aren’t Jewish (just not under the heading of Aliyah).

Kids and menorah in Israel Kids next to a Menorah

There are plenty of reasons you would want to move to Israel and quite a few you can find throughout my website – it simply is a great place to live, especially for Jewish people. 

The State of Israel actually encourages Jews to make Aliyah and offers many incentives for those that decide to move there permanently. You can learn more about that by checking out the website of the Jewish Agency. 

Here are some of the benefits offered by the State of Israel:

  • Free one-way ticket to Israel and free taxi from Ben Gurion airport,
  • A monthly payment for the first 6 months in the country (called Sal Klita - absorption basket),
  • Automatic health coverage,
  • Free Hebrew classes (5-month program) known as Ulpan,
  • Free higher education tuition for BA or MA degrees (age limits of 27 and 30 apply respectively),
  • Rent and municipal tax subsidies and discounted mortgage rates on first house purchased in Israel,
  • Tax breaks on income earned in Israel and income earned abroad (for the first 3.5 and 10 years living in Israel respectively),
  • And more!

If you live in the US, Canada or the UK you should definitely visit the Nefesh B'Nefesh website. Their website provides tons of info about the Aliyah process. Nefesh B'Nefesh works together with the Jewish Agency to help people from the US, Canada and the UK to make Aliyah, and they even provide financial grants to eligible individuals to help with the move.

Here are 2 great videos by Nefesh B'Nefesh that show a handful of young North American Olim (new immigrants; people who decided to make Aliyah) and how moving to Israel positively affected their lives:

Moving to Israel is a BIG DEAL though!

It is a major change in life and needs to be decided upon when you have all the info about the country. While Israel is for the most part an advanced western country there are things that are vastly different from the U.S or Europe, for example. Obviously the language is the first barrier to cross. For that you will need to do Ulpan - a 5-month Hebrew course. There are more barriers still, like housing and a job. But before I get you totally discouraged let me say this: all those barriers can be overcome with good planning and help from the state.

However, before making any decision my recommendation to you is to come to Israel for a L-O-N-G trip of at least a month. This may seem trivial to you but you will be amazed how many people are making an uneducated decision that ends in them returning pretty fast to the place they came from.

And... make sure you visit as many cities as possible and not only the tourist attractions. Why? Because chances are you are not going to end up living in the Old City of Jerusalem or alongside the Sea of Galilee (although it is possible). Most people end up in the suburban areas in cities that are known for their good facilities and hospitality for Olim (new immigrants).

So make sure you visit smaller non-tourist cities such as Ra’anana, Petah Tikva, Rishon Letzion and others. After being in the country for a month or two and checking ALL aspects of moving to Israel, you will be able to make a much more educated decision.

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