What is a Ben Mehager?
The army defines a Ben Mehager as an Israeli citizen whose parents reside abroad. In most cases, a Ben Mehager would make Aliyah with the status of Ezrach Oleh or Katin Chozer, although there are people who left Israel between the ages of 14 and 16 who would not be eligible for Aliyah (the Jewish Agency for Israel would give them the status of Returning Resident) but will be considered Bnei Mehagrim by the army.
Regardless of whether or not a Ben Mehager makes Aliyah, the army can and will draft them if they lose their “Status Hul*.”
In order to maintain Status Hul, the following criteria must be met:
- Parents must be in Israel no more than 180 days in a calendar year
- Ben Mehager must be in Israel no more than 120 days in a calendar year
*If you have any questions about Status Hul, email email@example.com
A Ben Mehager is granted a one-time Shnat Shehiya. This is defined as a visit to Israel for a duration of 121-365 days. Prior to using a Shnat Shehiya a Ben Mehager must be outside of Israel for 60 days, and they must stay out of Israel for the 60 days following their year. This is in order to create a clear distinction between visits to Israel.
Age of Arrival
Length of Service for Olim is determined by their “Age of Arrival.” Please note that a person’s Age of Arrival (their age on the date that they began a significant stay in Israel) is not necessarily their age on the date that they made Aliyah or when they lose their Status Hul.
Age of Arrival is determined by the Ben Mehager’s entries and exits to Israel, as well as the length of stay of each visit. To this end, one may report to the Israel Ministry of Interior and request a Berur Pratim L’Noseya – בירור פרטים לנוסע (a report of one’s entries and exits into Israel).
Guideline for Determining Age of Arrival
- If the Ben Mehager has not spent significant time in Israel, 120 consecutive days in a calendar year, Age of Arrival is considered from their Aliyah date. If you have questions about your status, email firstname.lastname@example.org
- If the Ben Mehager participated in a program that was one year in length (recognized by The Jewish Agency for Israel as a Masa program) and then left the country for a period of at least 12 months, the army will consider Age of Arrival from the time of their return.
During this away period, they can visit Israel 120 days per calendar year, but there must have been 60 days since the program-year ended before being able to begin their 120 days.
For example, if the program ended on June 30, 2017 the “away period” of 12 months would end on June 30, 2018. The Ben Mehager could visit Israel up to 120 days, beginning after September 1, 2017.
- For further clarification, please be in touch with the Meitav representative in NY. The Meitav representative can be contacted at: Meitav@newyork.mfa.gov.il or 212-499-5314. Or click here to the look at the army official website.
Length of Service Table According to Age and Marital Status
Family Status at Time of Enlistment:
|Age of Arrival||Profile||Single||Married||Married with Child/ren|
|18-19||31-97||30 months||18 months||Exempt|
|20-21||65-97||24 months||6 months||Exempt|
|20-21||31-64||24 months||Reserve Pool *||Exempt|
|22-25||65-97||6 months||6 months||Exempt|
|22-25||31-64||Reserve Pool *||Reserve Pool *||Exempt|
|26-29||31-97||Reserve Pool *||Reserve Pool *||Exempt|
Single women, until the age of 20, are required to serve for 24 months.
*Religious women can get a Ptur (exemption). Click here for the process.
Married women have an automatic exemption from service in the IDF.
There is NO requirement for women to do Sherut Leumi instead of military service. Click here for more information about Sherut Leumi.
Doctors and dentists (male):
For information about army service, please see: Army Service for Physicians
Academic Study Permission
- A Ben Mehager that left Israel with parents prior to age 10 may receive permission to attend academic studies in Israel for up to 4 years.
- This period may not start before age 17.
- The Ben Mehager is not eligible for Academic Study Permission if he/she has already used his/her Shanat Shehiya (unless the Shanat Shehiya was a MASA program).
- It is possible to connect the MASA Shanat Shehiya year directly to the 4 year Academic Study Permission.
- The duration of time to reset his/her Age of Arrival after the 4 year Academic Study Permission period is 2 years outside of the country. During the 2 years out of the country the Ben Mehager may visit Israel for either 120 days straight or 180 cumulative days.