Academic studies for Ben Mehagrim
There are numerous options for academic studies for Ben Mehagrim in Israel. However, the Israeli security service law applies to all Israeli citizens and mandates military service for Bnei Mehagrim (Children of Immigrants), unless specific exemption criteria are met. Failure to meet the Israel Defense Forces requirements may jeopardize the status of immigrant children and subject them to mandatory military service. In this article, we will elucidate who is considered a Ben Mehagrim and what the conditions are for pursuing academic studies in Israel for the children of Israeli immigrants.
Who are Bnei Mehagrim?
“Ben Mehagrim” refers to an individual who left Israel with their parents before reaching the age of 16 and who holds Israeli citizenship. In general, adult children of immigrants are considered potential candidates for military service under the Security Service Law of 1986, and only the application process for exemption from service will determine whether they will be enlisted during their stay in Israel. When they reach the age of 16, they are required to present themselves to the Draft Office or Consulate in the country where they reside to settle their status with the IDF.
Under what conditions can a Ben Mehagrim begin academic studies in Israel?
Bnei Mehgarim can become students in Israel without forfeiting their exemption from enlistment under the following conditions:
- Neither of their parents resides in Israel. If one of them does live in the country, the applicant must demonstrate that they have been primarily under the care of the parent residing abroad, not the one in Israel.
- They must be at least 17 years old when commencing their studies at an academic institution.
- They immigrated with their family abroad before the age of 10.
- Their primary place of residence is outside of Israel.
- They did not utilize the “year of exemption.” The only exception is if they were in Israel as part of the “Masa” program by the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration.
- They have been accepted into a recognized academic institution by the Council for Higher Education or the Ministry of Defense.
It’s essential to note that these studies are permitted for up to four years, including any required preparatory year. If the Ben Mehgarim meets the specified criteria, they must provide documentation from the academic institution specifying the start and end dates before beginning their studies. This process should be repeated annually if it’s impossible to obtain such confirmation for all expected years of study.
After four years, or less (depending on the sought degree), and upon completion of their studies, the student must leave Israel for a period of two years. During this time, they can visit Israel for up to 120 days per year. This condition applies even if the student reaches the age of exemption (26) during their studies.
In any case, it is advisable to consult with a legal expert knowledgeable in military and immigration law to initiate the application process with the IDF and ensure the submission of all required documents. Failure to meet the necessary criteria may result in the loss of exemption.
Is a Ben Mehagrim who completed short military service obligated to full military service upon returning to Israel?
Yes. Even if a they completed 18 months of short military service in the IDF and returned to Israel for academic studies without meeting the criteria outlined in this article, they will be required to complete full military service. This situation may occur if they did not regularize their status as a student immigrant with the IDF or if they stayed in Israel beyond the permitted period after completing their studies.
Our law firm in Israel, specifically in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, specializes in immigration and military law. We have extensive experience and expertise in facilitating the status of immigrant children who wish to study in Israel. We are here to assist you with your inquiries and requirements.
In conclusion, Ben Mehagrim, or a child of immigrants, has the opportunity to pursue academic studies in Israel, provided they meet specific conditions and follow the prescribed procedures. Understanding the requirements and seeking legal counsel when necessary can help ensure a smooth transition to higher education for these individuals.