A series of reforms put forward by the Interior Ministry aims to induce Israelis living abroad to visit and study in Israel, in an effort to convince more expatriates to resettle in Israel.
The reforms are part of the "Israel is home" program led by Interior Minister Eli Yishai and aimed at encouraging Jews and Israelis living abroad to make a permanent home for themselves in Israel. As part of the program, Jews eligible for Israeli citizenship will face less demanding terms in applying for permits to stay in Israel and will be entitled to better services in Israel.
Most notably, the program will allow the sons of ex-Israelis to enroll in higher education studies without having to serve in the IDF first. This move will apply to men who left Israel with their parents before the age of 10, men who were born overseas and never lived in Israel, and men who have yet to exercise their right to stay in Israel for a year without serving in the army.
The program will also enable Israelis living abroad to enter and leave Israel with their foreign passports instead of issuing Israeli ones. Currently, ex-Israelis are required to show their Israeli passports upon entering Israel and are delayed at airports.
The program, drafted by the Immigration and Population Authority, aims to simplify bureaucratic procedures. Tens of thousands of Jews eligible for Israeli citizenship are estimated to live in Israel with thousands lacking proper permits due to fear of local bureaucracy. The Interior Ministry's ultimate goal is to prompt these individuals to make aliyah.
A large part of the program, therefore, addresses bureaucratic aspects of obtaining permits and fee payments. In the coming weeks Jews entitled to Israeli citizenship will be given a chance to finalize their status on the Internet.
"This is an unprecedented project whose goal is to make it clear to all those eligible for citizenship and all Israelis who immigrated abroad that Israel is their home," Yishai said.
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