Congratulations! You finished your army service. What’s next?
Post Army: Second Aliyah
Many Olim consider their release from IDF service as the second Aliyah. You will need to re-adjust to civilian life, get used to speaking a different, non-army version of Hebrew and make decisions about what comes next. Will you travel? Will you work in Meudefet? Will you take advantage of Israeli higher education benefits as an Oleh? Will you begin your professional life? This guide is meant to help you understand your options and embark on your second Aliyah.
Many Aliyah benefits are frozen as long as you’re in the army, but once you leave the army, the clock starts ticking.
Olim are eligible for a year of free health care after they make Aliyah. While you are in the army, you are registered under the army health care system. After you are released, the different Kupot offer various benefit packages for released soldiers.
|Meuchedet||One year of their Adif package for free, if you join within 90 days of your release. One year of Meuchedet C (highest level) for only 13 NIS per month.|
|Maccabi||One year of Maccabi Sheli or Magen Zahav (the two highest levels) for free, if you join within 6 months of your release.|
|Leumit||One year of Leumit Zahav for free|
|Clalit||One year of Mushlam Zahav for free. Platinum coverage (highest level) for 40 NIS a month.|
While serving in the IDF, soldiers are exempt from paying Bituach Leumi. After being released from the IDF, soldiers are entitled to an exemption for an additional two months from their release date. If they are unemployed, the released soldier must begin making payments of 170 NIS per month to Bituach Leumi. If they are employed, Bituach Leumi will be paid by their employer directly. Once they become employed, it is advised to visit a Bituach Leumi branch to fill out all necessary paperwork to avoid any clerical discrepancies or unnecessary debt to Bituach Leumi.
For additional information on Bituach Leumi, click here.
Olim have one year to drive on their foreign driver’s license from their date of entry to Israel. Olim have three years from their Aliyah date to convert a foreign driver’s license to an Israeli driver’s license. This process does not freeze during the army. However, many Misrad Harishui offices may allow a one year extension for recently released soldiers.
Please note: The Misrad Harishui will review each case individually before allowing an extension.
In most cities, an exemption from paying Arnona is granted during a lone soldier’s active service. This exemption extends to four months after a lone soldier’s release date. Visit your local municipality building for more information and activiation of this benefit. Click here for a list of municipality locations.
Olim are eligible for customs benefits for the first three years of Aliyah. This benefit freezes during army service. The benefit includes bringing three customs tax-free shipments from any country, and buying or importing a car at a reduced tax rate. To find out more about this benefit, and to open a file with customs, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your university tuition may be subsidized if you begin your studies before age 27 for a BA and age 30 for an MA, AND if you start your studies within three years of Aliyah. This benefit freezes during IDF service. Students who are under 23 also receive assistance for Mechina, a year preparatory course. Please be in touch with email@example.com to find out if you are eligible for the subsidy.
Psychometric Examination Information:
The psychometric exam is equivalent to the SAT exam in the US. It is comprised of 3 sections – Verbal, Math and English Comprehension. The score on this exam ranges from 200-800 (800 being the highest score). Your score on this exam will be calculated together with your GPA from high school in order to determine your eligibility for acceptance to a specific program.
Note: If you have taken the SAT exam in the US, your score will be accepted by many programs in lieu of the Israeli psychometric exam.
For more information about the psychometric exam and preparatory courses, click here: https://www.nite.org.il/index.php/en/
IMPACT! Scholarships for Discharged Soldiers
The Friends of the IDF (FIDF) organization, together with the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers (AWIS) offers scholarships to discharged IDF combat soldiers whose economic circumstances do not allow them the opportunity of pursuing higher education and who meet the criteria set by the FIDF directorate. The scholarship is set at $4,000 per year of study. In return, the recipient commits to carrying out 130 hours per year of community work throughout the period of his/her studies, and maintaining contact with the donor who is funding the scholarship with two letters each year.
Note: The scholarship is not available for Mechina (preparatory program)/completion of Bagrut (matriculation) examinations/studies via the Open University/part-time studies, nor is it offered to released soldiers who already hold an academic degree.
The criteria for application for a scholarship, the request form, and instructions for submission may be found on the AWIS website: www.awis.org.il/impact
The AWIS scholarship department can be reached at 072-270-2270.
The Heseg Foundation
The Heseg Foundation offers aid to discharged soldiers (combat and non-combat) who are recognized by the IDF as Chayalim Bodedim and who completed a full and satisfactory service. The grant includes tuition fees for an undergraduate degree as well as a monthly subsistence stipend. In return, the recipient undertakes to perform 130 hours of community service per year.
The scholarship does not cover Mechina studies, studies towards completion of a Bagrut certificate, or further study for a released soldier who already holds a degree or diploma.
The request form and instructions for its submission may be found on the Heseg Foundation website: www.heseg.com; or by contacting the Foundation’s offices at: 03-771-3100.
Atidim’s TAKEOFF program provides Lone Soldier Olim with support after their release from the IDF. TAKEOFF assists from the end of your army service to college education until finding a satisfying career paths and permanent job placement. Take a look at the TAKEOFF brochure for more information.
Income Tax Reduction:
Olim are eligible for a reduction on their income tax for the first 3.5 years of Aliyah. This benefit freezes during the army, and during university. When you begin working, your employer will ask you to fill out a Tofes 101. On the Tofes, be sure to mark off that you are an Oleh Chadash, and input your Aliyah date. The benefit will begin automatically.
Olim who have made Aliyah in the past 6-12 months and are unemployed are entitled to a monthly living allowance through Misrad Haklita, known as Dmei Kiyum. Note that unemployment benefits begin AFTER Sal Klita payments finish. To sign up for Dmei Kiyum, you’ll need to visit your local branch of Misrad Haklita.
Released soldiers are entitled to a one-time grant of NIS 9,550 upon completion of six full months (150 days) of work in a Meudefet approved workplace. The released soldier must begin the work within 12 months of his/her release date. For more information please visit http://www.muadefet.co.il/.
The Wings Program facilitates a supportive, safe beginning for lone soldiers being discharged. Wings provides an all-inclusive educational, career, financial and life-skills program. Young immigrants are empowered to embrace Israeli society as independent and contributing members, while affirming their decision to remain in Israel for the long-term. You can find out more information by checking their website: http://www.wings.org.il/afterarmy
An annual ma’anak is awarded to miluimnikim as per the amount of days served in miluim in the preceding year:
10-14.5 days- NIS 1.308
15-19.5 days- NIS 2,616
20-36.5 days- NIS 3,924
37 days or more- NIS 5,232
B’hatzdaah is a benefit for released soldiers who are serving in Miluim (reserve duty). In order to qualify for the benefit, one must serve at least 20 days of reserve duty per year. Once meeting the minimum requirements and then registering via the B’hatzdaah webite you will be eligible to receive discounts, special offers, and more from B’hatzdaah.