To mark Israel’s upcoming 60th anniversary, the Absorption Ministry is launching an unprecedented campaign to return Israelis living abroad to the country by offering them a NIS 100 million ($24 million) incentives package, Yedioth Ahronot reported on Friday.
According to the Foreign Ministry, some 750,000 Israelis are defined as “yordim”, or Israelis who have been living outside the country for at least two years.
A recent survey has shown that the number one reason Israelis are delaying their return home has to do with the fact that returning emigrants are forced to pay NIS 8,730 and wait six months to be eligible for health insurance again.
The Absorption Ministry is now offering to cover this expense for all emigrants who return to Israel
by December 31, 2008 and who notify authorities of their expected return six months in advance.
In addition, the six-month waiting period for the insurance will be annulled.
The package will also include tax exemptions on income received from abroad and equal tax exemptions for returning emigrants and new olim.
Emigrants who return to Israel after 2 to 6 years will be exempt from paying value added tax on all electrical appliances they bring with them. Currently this exemption applies only to home appliances and work tools.
Within the framework of the new campaign the Absorption Ministry is drafting a plan to integrate the thousands of returning emigrants into the workforce and help others move their businesses to Israel.
The ministry will also help physicians and scientists returning to Israel find jobs in hospitals located in northern Israel and offer them a NIS 250,000 ($59,000) research grant.
Researchers who will be incorporated into the biotech field will receive NIS 450,000 ($106,000) over a three-year period.
The new campaign will be advertised in the media by the Absorption Ministry through Israel’s embassies and consulates abroad.
“Every returning Israeli strengthens the country and boosts its economy,” Absorption Minister Jacob Edery said.
“The country’s 60th anniversary offers a window of opportunity to bring thousands of Israelis back home.”