Israel’s ‘Passport Aliyah’ Crackdown Sparks Outrage
i24 News – Aliyah advocates are concerned about a new initiative that would force immigrant applicants to Israel to prove their intent to live in the Jewish state permanently and are not only after a passport.
Israel’s Interior Ministry is set to require all individuals applying to immigrate under the Law of Return to declare their plan to move to Israel “immediately” and “permanently,” Haaretz reported last week.
Applicants would be posed with a list of questions to gauge how serious they are about immigrating and making Israel their new “center of life.”
Its purpose is to crack down on ‘passport aliyah’ – people who immigrate to Israel, without any intention of staying, to take advantage of the government’s financial support and travel benefits.
The phenomenon has been especially common in recent years, as many immigrants found that having an Israeli passport makes traveling the world easier, according to Haaretz.
Israel’s Law of Return stipulates that immigrant visas shall be awarded “to every Jew who has expressed his desire to settle in Israel.”
Director of the Interior Ministry’s Population and Immigration Authority, Tomer Moskowitz, said the new regulation will simply enforce the law.
However, advocates for immigration to Israel argue that the law is being misinterpreted.
“The desire to settle in Israel doesn’t necessarily mean that the move has to be immediate or permanent,” said attorney Eli Nacht, deputy mayor of the southern city Ashdod.
“It’s part of an ongoing policy of restricting aliyah,” he added, Haaretz reported.
“They need to realize… that this is a global world and people travel around a lot. Sometimes, they’re not ready to decide where they want to settle permanently, and that needs to be respected.”