An email was received by Nefesh B’Nefesh from a potential Oleh who wants to make Aliyah in the summer with all of his family, except for his 15 year old son (who is planning on coming on tourist status). The following is an update about the implications of such, in terms of future Aliyah and Army service.
When an individual decides to become an Israeli citizen, the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) does NOT take into consideration the date the status was changed, e.g., the date that a tourist became an Oleh. Previous time spent in Israel is a major factor in calculating the length of compulsory service.
If an individual spent over 4 months in Israel during a single visit, the length of that person’s army service is determined by the age at one’s date of entry into Israel. This is irrespective of the current age of the individual – be that person a minor or an adult. The actual date that one changed status is irrelevant to the IDF
Example 1: A 16 year old boy arrived in Israel on a tourist visa and at the age of 22 decided to declare Aliyah. He can be required to serve the full three years.
Example 2: A boy arrived in Israel at the age of 18 as a tourist, and at the age of 21 decided to declare Aliyah. He can be required to serve the full three years.
Visits of less than 4 months will not be considered as a stay in Israel.
If an individual (tourist) stayed in Israel over four months and then leaves, if he was outside Israel for more than 2 years (with visits no more than 120 days per year) the length of service will be determined according to his future Aliyah date.
Example 3: An 18 year old tourist spent 6 months at the beach in TelAviv and returned to NY. He returned to Israel at the age of 19 1/2 and declared aliyah, he can be required to serve the full three years.
Example 4: An 18 year old tourist spent 6 months at the beach in TelAviv and returned to NY. He returned to Israel at the age of 22 and declared aliyah, he may be required to serve in the IDF a few months.
Example 5: An 17 year old student spends two years in Yeshiva in Israel, and decides to make Aliyah. The IDF may require him to serve full service.
Other factors are taken into consideration by the IDF in determining the length of military service:
1. An individual’s family status (single, married, children).
2. Physical profile: A medical examination by the IDF, defines physical limitations for various types of service.
For individuals with Ezrach Oleh or Ktin Chozer status: Contact the nearest Israeli consulate for guidance before visiting Israel for a stay of over 4 months.
Mechinot: A number of Mechina programs are available (usually lasting 12 months) that combine a program of studies with preparation for the army. For more information, please see Army Service and Mechina Programs. In addition, you can read more about Mechinot in Hebrew on the Ministry of Education site.
If you have further questions about service in the IDF, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This page was prepared after consultation with the IDF Manpower Division. Regulations change, and others are not enforced. Nefesh B’Nefesh is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the above information.