Bureaucracy in Israel 101

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Ok so you are finally here, or you are planning on making the big move to Eretz Yisroel!  First,

Mazal Tov, Mazal Tov!!!

Second, let’s get down to business.  No matter from where you made Aliyah from, the Israeli Bureaucracy has no rhyme or reason.  Accepting this ahead of time and knowing this ahead of time will make your processes much easier.

The Israeli System

So, what do I mean.  Whether you speak Hebrew, some Hebrew, or no Hebrew at all, the system is baffling.  You must have a lot of patience and know that in the end everything will work out.  You need to know that no matter what obstacles are in front of you, do not lose your cool – ever – if you want to get any results at all.  The setup of all government offices makes it very trying, frustrating, and even seem backward.  But you are now in Israel, and you need to learn how the bureaucratic system works.

You need to create a binder/folder with all your documentation.  And you need to take this with you wherever you go.  Even if you think it is not needed, more times than not, it comes in handy.  You must never give your original documents; you will not get them back.  It is best if you have 2 copies of each document so that you can provide it immediately.

Going In a 2nd Time

One thing that I must stress is that no matter what office you go too, more than likely you will have to go in there again!  Knowing this ahead of time will make it less frustrating.  It is also important that before you go to any office, you double check their hours of operation, these can change randomly – for example, this week on Wednesday they are closed.

You must carry on you your teudat zehut card (your identity card).  Every single place uses this id number (similar to a social security number) for any and all filings.  And I also recommend having your teudat oleh for at least the first two years of making Aliyah. You should also learn to memorize this number your ID number.

Any changes in your life after moving to Israel such as, address change, marriage, divorce, new baby, and so on, you must update Misrad Hapnim.  By updating them, you basically are registering yourself on any changes to you or your Family.  If they are not updated, this could cause problems when flying out or in to Eretz Yisroel.

You must also disconnect all utilities when you move, otherwise you will be billed for the usage even if you no longer live there – and it is difficult to “find” the tenant who moved in after you to take over the billing.

I recommend that you open accounts online, such as Bituach Leumi, Banking, Utility Bills, Arnona, Myvisit.com, Health Insurance, and more.  It will make your life so much easier by trying to do most of your errands and paperwork online.  It can take months for an appointment, it can cause you to return multiple times to the same office, and it will make your life more difficult without doing so.


Always get a copy of any decision in writing.  It is quite possible that “they” will not have a record and you can turn blue in the face and they will not accept what you tell them.  It is vital that you keep organized records for at least 5+ years so that you can refer back to them when needed.  Never get rid of them, you may still have a need for them for online applications or in-office appointments.  The best option is to scan them into a folder and be able to access them whenever needed.  And always keep originals in a safe place.

There is so much more that can be shared, but you just have to be ready to accept that what you know, what you think you know is definitely not what will happen.  Being prepared, being ready, knowing that the system is completely different from what you were accustomed too will make the transition so much easier.  Just take it one step at a time.

I do not want to dissuade you from moving here.  I can tell you that I would not live anywhere else.  Once everything is set up, children are in the right schools, settled in your home, and everything is in place, you will see that you will love it here like the rest of us, and never want to leave!

Wishing you much hatzlaha!!

Shira Zimberg

Chaim Apsan
Chaim Apsan

Chaim is the Interactive Media Coordinator of Aliyah Paveway. Having made Aliyah 8 years ago, he now works writing articles and taking care of the technical aspects of the website.

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