Determining your Army status will help you understand your time requirements in the IDF and your legal status in Israel. Learn when you have to do your Tzav Rishon (first call up) if you’re a Ben Mehager (child of emigrant), a Katin Chozer (returning minor), or a new immigrant.

Ben Mehager (Child of Emigrants)

The rules regarding olim chadashim whose parents already possess Israeli citizenship are different. This population is known as ben mahagerim, children of emigrants.

Please read below to find out if this status applies to you and the rules you must abide by in order to not be drafted to the Army if this is something that you do not want. If you get drafted or would like to enlist, please refer to the section on determining date of arrival and then check your length of service requirements based on your date of arrival.

Ben_Mehager_5_7611821A ben mahager, child of an Israeli emigrant (Israeli who moves abroad from Israel), is a person born to Israeli parents and has lived abroad their entire life, or moved abroad with their parents before age 16.

A ben mahager’s time of IDF service is determined according to their age of returning/making aliyah and according to the time of service chart.

A ben mahager’s visiting rights in Israel

  •  Up to 120 days each calendar year
  • 1 exemptions year — between 121 days and a year.

Parents of a ben mahager are allowed to visit Israel up to 6 months each year. This becomes null and void when a ben mahager reaches age 21.

If a ben mahager follows the guidelines, women will be exempted from the army at age 21 and men at 26.

• However, if an Israeli citizen left Israel at age 13 or later and returned before the age of 20, he or she will have to complete a full service in the Army – 2 years for girls and 3 years for boys.

• If a ben mahager uses their exemption year at age 20 (women) or 25 (men), then they will have to wait an additional year for an army exemption.

Mahal and Ben Mahager

A ben mahager may do Mahal, but they must have left Israel by age 10, and not have spent more than 120 days in a calendar year in Israel from age 10 until year of enlistment.

 

Katin Chozer (Returning Minor)

DEFINITION: Returning Israeli Minor (hereafter Katin/a Chozer/et):

A citizen of Israel, who leaves Israel before the age of 14 together with at least one parent or joined a parent residing abroad, spent at least 4 consecutive years abroad with parent/parents and returns to reside in Israel after the age of 17.

Please note that if your parent/s was/were employed by, or represented an Israeli employer (Government, Jewish Agency, etc. or private), during the five years prior to your permanent return to Israel, you will not be recognized as a Katin/a Chozer/et.

Visits to Israel Prior to Permanent Return:

  • Any visit by Ktinim Chozrim (Returning Israeli Minors) in excess of 4 months (or combined visits exceeding a total of 4 months) in one year will be regarded as a permanent return to Israel.
  • The Customs Authority calculates visits of Ktinim Chozrim on a yearly basis, the year running from the date of original departure from Israel. Hence, Ktinim Chozrim cannot visit Israel for over 4 months yearly from the date of original departure in order not to affect future rights and concessions in customs.
  • An exception to the above is the one time privilege of a Ktinim Chozrim to visit Israel on an “authorised study programme” of the Jewish Agency, at universities, or recognised yeshivot. This visit must not exceed one year in duration, must be authorised and must run for a minimum number of months, depending on the programme.
  • A stay in Israel for compulsory army service is recognised as a visit and not as a commencement of rights. This on condition that the candidate does not stay in Israel over 4 months in total while not serving active duty in the army and on condition that no rights are utilised.

IMPORTANT: Upon completing your programme, remember to get an official letter from the institution confirming your participation in the programme and ensure you keep this, as you will need it for future use. If, upon completion of an authorised study programme, your intentions are to remain in Israel on a permanent basis, please enquire with the authorities to ensure that the date of your commencement of rights will be calculated from after the completion of the programme. Consult with your Shaliach overseas to verify the ramifications of such visits.

If You Stay in Israel / Make Aliyah:

If you make Aliyah and  you are a Katin Chozer, then you need to get an ishur hityatzvut (confirmation that you have registered with the IDF) or an official release form from your regional lishkat hagiyus (IDF Recruitment Center) before you can get your Teudat Zehut and receive you Aliyah rights.

If you do not receuive a ptur (exemption) from the Army, then you will not be able to receive your document until you start the drafting process at your regional lishkat giyus (recruitment center). You can receive a ptur (exemption) for studies, a gap year, health reasons, age, etc. If you are required by the law to do the Army, then you will need to start the process.

You will need to do the Army based on your age of arrival for your initial arrival in Israel if you stayed beyond the four months alotted time given.

For more information on Katin Chozer, please check out here the Jewish Agency Website.

Determining Date of Arrival

Arrival Date vs. Aliyah Date

If you are volunteering, making Aliyah, or a ben mahager (child of Israeli emigrants), the Army has different regulations regarding how long you need to serve, and for children of Israeli emigrants, rules about how long you can be in Israel without having to go to the Army.

Arrival_VS_Aliyah_5_1418075510It is important to note that the Army does not consider your Aliyah date for determining your length of service, but your day of arrival to Israel (however, these can be the same day).

Once you have figured out your date of arrival, then you can figure out how long you are requried to serve.

You can find information here to clarify your date of arrival, exactly what your status is regarding the army, and how long you would have to serve.

Click here if you a doctor making or has made Aliyah.

Date of arrival considered your initial arrival, and not Aliyah date:

  • If you spent 91-120 days in Israel as a tourist, working or living here (not on a sanctioned program) up to two years before making Aliyah
  • If you were in Israel for three different periods of up to three months in a two year time frame before makingAliyah

If you come to Israel on a Jewish Agency (including MASA) sanctioned year long program such as various gap years, volunteering and study abroad programs, your date of arrival to determine your status will be determined as follows:

  • Your arrival date vis-à-vis the IDF will be the day you arrived in Israel for your program if you stay in Israel or return to Israel less than 12 months after the end of your program.
  • Your arrival date will be your Aliyah date if you returned to Israel at least a year after finishing your program.
  • Women who participated on a MASA program: Your arrival age needs to be at least 21 years and 1 day in order to receive an army exemption. This means you may need to be out of Israel longer than one year in order to receive an exemption. It is recommended you speak with the Army to figure out your status.
  • Men who participated on a MASA program: Your arrival age needs to be at least 26 years and 1 day, or one year after the completion of your program, in order to receive an army exemption. It is recommended you speak with the Army to figure out your status.

If you come to Israel to study at university and then decide to make Aliyah, your arrival date will be considered the day you arrived for your studies.

Army exemptions if arrived at:

  • Women – Age 20 or later
  • Men – Age 26 or later

Time Requirements (Men)

Age upon Arrival

Profile

Single

Married

Married with Kids

18-19 31-97 30 Months 18 Months Exempt
20-21 65-97 24 Months 6 Months Exempt
20-21 31-64 24 Months Depends on Army needs* Exempt
22-25 65-97 6 Months 6 Months Exempt
22-25 31-64 Depends on Army needs* Depends on Army needs* Exempt
26-39 31-97 Depends on Army needs* Depends on Army needs* Exempt
30+ 31-97 Exempt Exempt Exempt

* Exempt unless otherwise noted by the Army. Army may decide it needs you, and will then call you up.

Time Requirements (Women)

Age of Arrival

Type of Military Service

Duration of  Military Service

18-19 Mandatory 24 Months
20-25 Voluntarily At least 12 Months

Time_Requirements_6_3918586314*Women are exempt from army service if they have arrived in Israel by age 20; they may volunteer if they’d like up to age 26.

**Religious and married women can also receive an exemption from military service

***There is NO requirement for women to do Sherut Leumi instead of military service

+ Ben Mehager

Ben Mehager (Child of Emigrants)

The rules regarding olim chadashim whose parents already possess Israeli citizenship are different. This population is known as ben mahagerim, children of emigrants.

Please read below to find out if this status applies to you and the rules you must abide by in order to not be drafted to the Army if this is something that you do not want. If you get drafted or would like to enlist, please refer to the section on determining date of arrival and then check your length of service requirements based on your date of arrival.

Ben_Mehager_5_7611821A ben mahager, child of an Israeli emigrant (Israeli who moves abroad from Israel), is a person born to Israeli parents and has lived abroad their entire life, or moved abroad with their parents before age 16.

A ben mahager’s time of IDF service is determined according to their age of returning/making aliyah and according to the time of service chart.

A ben mahager’s visiting rights in Israel

  •  Up to 120 days each calendar year
  • 1 exemptions year — between 121 days and a year.

Parents of a ben mahager are allowed to visit Israel up to 6 months each year. This becomes null and void when a ben mahager reaches age 21.

If a ben mahager follows the guidelines, women will be exempted from the army at age 21 and men at 26.

• However, if an Israeli citizen left Israel at age 13 or later and returned before the age of 20, he or she will have to complete a full service in the Army – 2 years for girls and 3 years for boys.

• If a ben mahager uses their exemption year at age 20 (women) or 25 (men), then they will have to wait an additional year for an army exemption.

Mahal and Ben Mahager

A ben mahager may do Mahal, but they must have left Israel by age 10, and not have spent more than 120 days in a calendar year in Israel from age 10 until year of enlistment.

 

+ Katin Chozer

Katin Chozer (Returning Minor)

DEFINITION: Returning Israeli Minor (hereafter Katin/a Chozer/et):

A citizen of Israel, who leaves Israel before the age of 14 together with at least one parent or joined a parent residing abroad, spent at least 4 consecutive years abroad with parent/parents and returns to reside in Israel after the age of 17.

Please note that if your parent/s was/were employed by, or represented an Israeli employer (Government, Jewish Agency, etc. or private), during the five years prior to your permanent return to Israel, you will not be recognized as a Katin/a Chozer/et.

Visits to Israel Prior to Permanent Return:

  • Any visit by Ktinim Chozrim (Returning Israeli Minors) in excess of 4 months (or combined visits exceeding a total of 4 months) in one year will be regarded as a permanent return to Israel.
  • The Customs Authority calculates visits of Ktinim Chozrim on a yearly basis, the year running from the date of original departure from Israel. Hence, Ktinim Chozrim cannot visit Israel for over 4 months yearly from the date of original departure in order not to affect future rights and concessions in customs.
  • An exception to the above is the one time privilege of a Ktinim Chozrim to visit Israel on an “authorised study programme” of the Jewish Agency, at universities, or recognised yeshivot. This visit must not exceed one year in duration, must be authorised and must run for a minimum number of months, depending on the programme.
  • A stay in Israel for compulsory army service is recognised as a visit and not as a commencement of rights. This on condition that the candidate does not stay in Israel over 4 months in total while not serving active duty in the army and on condition that no rights are utilised.

IMPORTANT: Upon completing your programme, remember to get an official letter from the institution confirming your participation in the programme and ensure you keep this, as you will need it for future use. If, upon completion of an authorised study programme, your intentions are to remain in Israel on a permanent basis, please enquire with the authorities to ensure that the date of your commencement of rights will be calculated from after the completion of the programme. Consult with your Shaliach overseas to verify the ramifications of such visits.

If You Stay in Israel / Make Aliyah:

If you make Aliyah and  you are a Katin Chozer, then you need to get an ishur hityatzvut (confirmation that you have registered with the IDF) or an official release form from your regional lishkat hagiyus (IDF Recruitment Center) before you can get your Teudat Zehut and receive you Aliyah rights.

If you do not receuive a ptur (exemption) from the Army, then you will not be able to receive your document until you start the drafting process at your regional lishkat giyus (recruitment center). You can receive a ptur (exemption) for studies, a gap year, health reasons, age, etc. If you are required by the law to do the Army, then you will need to start the process.

You will need to do the Army based on your age of arrival for your initial arrival in Israel if you stayed beyond the four months alotted time given.

For more information on Katin Chozer, please check out here the Jewish Agency Website.

+ Date of Arrival

Determining Date of Arrival

Arrival Date vs. Aliyah Date

If you are volunteering, making Aliyah, or a ben mahager (child of Israeli emigrants), the Army has different regulations regarding how long you need to serve, and for children of Israeli emigrants, rules about how long you can be in Israel without having to go to the Army.

Arrival_VS_Aliyah_5_1418075510It is important to note that the Army does not consider your Aliyah date for determining your length of service, but your day of arrival to Israel (however, these can be the same day).

Once you have figured out your date of arrival, then you can figure out how long you are requried to serve.

You can find information here to clarify your date of arrival, exactly what your status is regarding the army, and how long you would have to serve.

Click here if you a doctor making or has made Aliyah.

Date of arrival considered your initial arrival, and not Aliyah date:

  • If you spent 91-120 days in Israel as a tourist, working or living here (not on a sanctioned program) up to two years before making Aliyah
  • If you were in Israel for three different periods of up to three months in a two year time frame before makingAliyah

If you come to Israel on a Jewish Agency (including MASA) sanctioned year long program such as various gap years, volunteering and study abroad programs, your date of arrival to determine your status will be determined as follows:

  • Your arrival date vis-à-vis the IDF will be the day you arrived in Israel for your program if you stay in Israel or return to Israel less than 12 months after the end of your program.
  • Your arrival date will be your Aliyah date if you returned to Israel at least a year after finishing your program.
  • Women who participated on a MASA program: Your arrival age needs to be at least 21 years and 1 day in order to receive an army exemption. This means you may need to be out of Israel longer than one year in order to receive an exemption. It is recommended you speak with the Army to figure out your status.
  • Men who participated on a MASA program: Your arrival age needs to be at least 26 years and 1 day, or one year after the completion of your program, in order to receive an army exemption. It is recommended you speak with the Army to figure out your status.

If you come to Israel to study at university and then decide to make Aliyah, your arrival date will be considered the day you arrived for your studies.

Army exemptions if arrived at:

  • Women – Age 20 or later
  • Men – Age 26 or later
+ Time Requirements

Time Requirements (Men)

Age upon Arrival

Profile

Single

Married

Married with Kids

18-19 31-97 30 Months 18 Months Exempt
20-21 65-97 24 Months 6 Months Exempt
20-21 31-64 24 Months Depends on Army needs* Exempt
22-25 65-97 6 Months 6 Months Exempt
22-25 31-64 Depends on Army needs* Depends on Army needs* Exempt
26-39 31-97 Depends on Army needs* Depends on Army needs* Exempt
30+ 31-97 Exempt Exempt Exempt

* Exempt unless otherwise noted by the Army. Army may decide it needs you, and will then call you up.

Time Requirements (Women)

Age of Arrival

Type of Military Service

Duration of  Military Service

18-19 Mandatory 24 Months
20-25 Voluntarily At least 12 Months

Time_Requirements_6_3918586314*Women are exempt from army service if they have arrived in Israel by age 20; they may volunteer if they’d like up to age 26.

**Religious and married women can also receive an exemption from military service

***There is NO requirement for women to do Sherut Leumi instead of military service

These regulations can be very confusing.

Any questions regarding your individual status, please email the IDF Coordinator for New Immigrants.