Threatened With Being Drafted to the Israeli Army When You Came to Study in Israel — Despite Having Given Up Your Israeli Citizenship?
If one of your parents is Israeli, you were born and lived abroad and you want to cancel your Israeli citizenship, you may still find yourself being forcibly drafted into the Israeli army.
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Every Israeli minor has to regulate his military status before reaching the age of 18. Since the army understands that there are Israelis permanently living abroad, they established a policy that every boy or girl who is a "permanent resident living abroad" has the option to be considered a "son of migrants" “an Israeli born abroad" or "the son of emissaries" who can postpone the date for their army induction as long as they are still defined as living permanently abroad (i.e. the center of their life is abroad) with qualifying conditions.
In view of the many complaints we received regarding the difficulties which those with this status are experiencing when they come to temporarily study in Israel, we decided to appeal to the IDF. We detailed in our letter a wide variety of cases where Israeli citizens from abroad were greatly inconvenienced due to the current onerous regulations. We presented the consequences and suffering for immigrants and returning residents who had come to study in Israel, and the incomprehensible inconsideration for their personal circumstances.
After lengthy negotiations, the IDF sent out this laconic reply: "The existing arrangements for children of migrants and immigrants have a different and balanced policy in relation to the rest of the population."
Israeli Shortcut’s chairman Zev Zer says that the many appeals reaching the organization prove that the policy is not "balanced", and he deplores the IDF’s obtuse response instead of taking responsibility for the problematic situation.
He mentions a related issue of minors who want to give up their Israeli citizenship with their parents' consent due to their concern that they might not be able to maintain their status as a foreign-born Israeli or son of an migrant when they come to study in Israel. They are not allowed to relinquish their citizenship until the age of 18, but absurdly, when they try to relinquish it then, they are not exempted from the army service which they are obligated in as soon as they turned 18.
What does this policy contribute to other than making Israeli citizens living abroad loath to come to study in Israel and discourage them from making aliyah?