With great sadness, we bade farewell to a friend and former Telfed Chairman, Itz Kalmonowitz Z”L on 24 July (6 Av).

Itz was an ardent Zionist, from his youth in Habonim and through his involvement in the South African Zionist Federation. A qualified accountant, Itz made Aliyah in 1983 and settled in Jerusalem. Soon after arriving in Israel, he became involved in Telfed. Over the years, Itz volunteered in various capacities, eventually serving as Chairman of Telfed from 2004-2006. Itz sat on Telfed’s EXCO and Board of Governors until his passing.

Itz will be remembered as a quiet, unassuming gentleman committed to Israel and the Zionist cause.

On behalf of Telfed leadership, staff and the South African Olim community, we extend our heartfelt condolences to Marjorie, Debra, Shifra, David and families.

Over the past two months, our Olot (and Olim) have participated in coffee clubs in Haifa, Jerusalem, and Raanana. As with our Regional Committees, each Coffee Club arranges get togethers to meet the needs and interests of participants – including tours and speakers. This week, we launched our first Modiin Coffee Club, with over 20 participants. Thanks to Tracey for leading this initiative. Coffee Clubs are scheduled for Raanana and Rishon LeZion ahead of Rosh Hashanah.

For more information about upcoming Coffee Clubs (or if you’d like to arrange a Coffee Club in your community), please contact Michelle at [email protected].

Earlier this month, we had the opportunity to treat South African and Australian Lone Soldiers to a pub lunch.
It’s always a highlight for us to spoil our Lone Soldiers, and to have the opportunity to chat to them and learn about their service and future plans.
As always, our Lone Soldier social events give our soldiers the chance to connect with one another, sharing invaluable advice and experience.
Telfed hosts two forums for Lone Soldiers (including Machal volunteers). If you’d like to join these groups, please be in touch with Daniela Shapira (Telfed’s Klita Advisor) by email or WhatsApp.

Two former Australian Lone Soldiers (in partnership with Telfed and the Zionist Federation of Australia), invite future, current and recently released Lone Soldiers to a BBQ on 7 September! For catering purposes, please RSVP.

Last week, former tenants, neighbours and friends in Telfed’s Amishav Street building held an 80th birthday party for Philip Bernstein.
Philip, a Telfed tenant, has no family in Israel. Thank you to Vardit, Shay and team for this heartwarming initiative celebrating Philip’s special day.
There’s nothing like our Olim community and we love the care and concern our tenants show for one another.



To the Knitting Grandmothers of the Sharon area – thank you for investing your time and effort in a meaningful and generous project – knitting blankets for Lone Soldiers. Our Lone Soldiers may not have their own grandmothers in Israel, but they are blessed to feel your warmth and care. We are grateful for our Olim community, where different generations come together to support one another.



Telfed’s CEO, Dorron Kline, recently met with Avichai Kahana, the Director of the Ministry of Absorption, at the Misrad Ha’Klita offices in Jerusalem. Their discussion focused on streamlining absorption processes for New Olim from South Africa and Australia.Dorron requested to reinstate receiving ID booklets at the airport on arrival, initiate Garinei Aliyah (group immigration to a designated destination) and reduce bureaucracy when relicensing professional Olim. Avichai expressed the Ministry’s desire to increase Aliyah from South Africa and Australia and their wish to work closely with Telfed.


Eleven years ago, Telfed initiated the South Africa – Israel Diller programme. After meeting with the Diller representatives in Israel, Telfed arranged a meeting in Tel Aviv between the Directors of Diller International, Partnership Together (P2G) Beit Shemesh – Mateh Yehuda and the Israel Centre. The result was the first Diller programme run outside the USA and Israel. Since then, Diller blossomed in Johannesburg and Cape Town, becoming a household name with excellent programmes, high-quality members and fantastic partnerships between South Africa and Beit Shemesh-Mateh Yehuda. Telfed’s CEO, Dorron Kline, represented Telfed and P2G at the closing ceremony of Diller 2023, held at the Urban Kibbutz Tamuz in Beit Shemesh. He addressed the Diller youth, thanking them for their partnership building with South African Jewish youth. Diller graduates are eligible to apply for Telfed’s PRAS university scholarships. See https://www.telfed.org.il/apply-for-pras-students/

At the start of the summer holiday, Telfed’s Modiin Regional Committee in partnership with the Modiin Olim Absorption Centre, hosted a comedy evening with Benji Lovitt and Joel Chasnoff. In celebration of Israel (and Telfed’s) 75th birthday, Benji and Joel launched their new book ‘Israel 201 – Your next-level guide to the magic, mystery and chaos! of life in the Holy Land‘. Thanks to Benjy and Joel for a wonderful evening of laughter!


Important information for new Olim from Telfed’s Klita advisor:
As an Oleh you are exempt from paying Bituach Leumi for at least 6 months if you are not working. The first 6 months you receive Sal Klita and do not have to pay Bituach Leumi.
  • If you are a pensioner, you will need to sign up with Bituach Leumi after 6 months when Sal Klita ends.
  • If you are before pension age and not able to work for health reasons, ask Misrad HaKlita for Dmei Kiyum LeNitmach.
  • If you are before pension age and not able to find a job, ask Misrad HaKlita for Haftachat Hachnasa.
  • Both options will give you another 6 months of financial support, during which time you do not have to pay Bituach Leumi.
  • IF after 1 year you are still not working, you need to start paying Bituach Leumi.
Once you start working, part-time or full-time, you will pay Bituach Leumi automatically through your employer and you will see it reflected on your salary slip. If you are unemployed or self-employed you will have to set up an account with Bituach Leumi and pay them directly yourself.
Bottom line: Your Bituach Leumi payment covers the basic medical plan. Any top-ups you pay directly to your kupat cholim. In the first 6 months if you are not working you do not have to pay Bituach Leumi but your basic plan is still covered. However, if you have a top-up you still pay this directly to your kupat cholim. If you are still not working after 6 months you can ask Misrad Haklita for another 6 months’ worth of financial support and then you also don’t have to pay Bituach Leumi. After 1 year you are either working or paying them directly. You can set up a meeting to sort out direct payment. Whenever you start to work your employer pays your Bituach Leumi by taking it off your salary and paying it directly to Bituach Leumi.
  • If, after 6 months, you do not apply for more support from Misrad Haklita then Bituach Leumi will start billing you from 6 months onwards!


Please note that the requirements for obtaining an Israeli passport and Bituach Leumi’s requirements for maintaining residency are different.

Passport: 75% of the year vs Bituach Leumi 183 days per year.


You have to live in Israel for 183 days a year in order to be considered a resident of Israel. This applies to Olim and Israelis who were born here alike (not just for the 1st 3 years). In order to retain your resident status and continue to enjoy services through Bituach Leumi (like having kupat cholim!), you need to be in Israel for 183 days a year – not consecutively.

There is a difference between being a citizen and being a resident. Once you become a citizen there is no specific criteria to retain it. In most cases, regardless of the country of residence, an Israeli will remain Israeli for life.

The same does not apply for residents. Being a resident means that your life center is Israel. What could be affected? Bituach Leumi and all of its affiliated services. If you jeopardize your residency, you could lose your Oleh title and rights, kupat cholim medical care, etc. and you would be considered a Returning Resident with limited rights. This would mean that you would not be allowed to join kupat cholim healthcare for 6 months and would need private insurance or you would have to pay the hefty fine of 12,210 shekels to re-join immediately. One way to keep the medical care is to establish an automatic payment plan with Bituach Leumi so that you are paying continuously while you travel.

Bituach Leumi has a software that constantly checks people’s registries to see whether they pass the resident test: spent more than 183 days within a year in Israel within a period of 2 years. This does not mean that one must spend 183 consecutive days in Israel but rather accumulate that over a course of a year. The law dictates that a person who has left the country and has resided outside of Israel for at least 183 days over a period of 2 consecutive years will stop being a resident in the Bituach Leumi System. The system may skip a registry for more than 2 years so it can be up to 5 years before that person loses the resident status.

If a person who intends to leave Israel but return within 5 years, they can set up a הוראת קבע (automatic payment) with Bituach Leumi while they are abroad in order to keep their resident’s rights. This can only be done up to 5 years.


New Olim are eligible to apply for a passport only after 1 year from their Aliyah date. This is according to a new law change on 10.7.2023 regarding passport applications for Olim:

  • apply within the 1st year of Aliyah date: within the first 90 days of Aliyah, one can apply for an exit letter allowing one to travel on their foreign passport. After 90 days, one can apply for a travel document (Teudat Ma’avar) that is valid up to 5 years.
  • apply within 1-5 years of Aliyah date: the government with check if you have been in the country for at least 75% of the time. If yes, a passport will be issued that is valid for 5 years. If not, a 5 year travel document will be issued instead.
  • apply 5+ years after Aliyah: the government with check if you have been in the country for at least 36 out of the last 60 months. If yes, a passport will be issued for 10 years. If not, a 5 year travel document will be issued instead.

Passport vs Travel document: A travel document will allow you to go in and out of Israel but for use abroad it may require you to apply for a visa. Unless it says “in lieu of passport.” Then you will be able to use it abroad.

Did you know?
Telfed’s Youth Committee has a community WhatsApp group for young SA and Aussie Olim from age 18-35. If you aren’t yet a member, send an email to [email protected] and we’ll add you to the group!

Are you making Aliyah, or know someone who is? Please take a minute to read this important information:

Aliyah is a multilayered process, involving a number of organisations. To begin, you will open your Aliyah file with the Jewish Agency’s Global Centre (click here). Their representatives will provide detailed information about required documentation and eligibility.

The relevant representatives at the Israel Centre in South Africa and the Israel Aliyah Centre in Australia will provide Aliyah related information, and schedule your Aliyah interview. They will also provide information regarding rights and benefits for new Olim.*

While dealing with the bureaucratic processes, we remind you not to forget planning for your new life in Israel.

Advance preparation is critical for a successful integration and absorption, and we invite you to consult with our team ahead of your arrival in Israel. Telfed’s professional staff will provide information and guidance relevant to your new life in Israel – from information to help you decide where to live to preparing for the job market, applying for a Telfed rental apartment or a Telfed scholarship.

Once you’ve made Aliyah, Telfed staff and volunteers will be in touch. That being said, we cannot foresee when you will be in need of additional support. Like any journey, you may experience ups and downs, and we are available to guide you as you navigate this journey.

To schedule a meeting with our team prior to your Aliyah, click here.
To speak to our Klita advisor, click here.
For employment advice (including professional licensing), click here.
To consult with our social worker, click here.

A full list of Telfed staff contact information is available on our website, along with a list of Regional Volunteers who can provide information about communities in Israel.

*Please note: if you are a returning citizen, please be in touch with our Klita advisor for information about your rights and benefits.