Moving to a new country is not easy. It’s even harder to do it by yourself. There are many challenges that Olim face when making Aliyah that sometimes lead them to go back to their home countries. Below are some of the experiences that olim go through, as well as programs that help make their Aliyah more successful.
1. Moving to a New Country
When you move to a new country, you are leaving behind everything that is familiar to you and have to start over. This means opening an Israeli bank account, converting your drivers license, and navigating the healthcare system. Another barrier facing olim is having to build a community. Most olim do not know many people in Israel when they first arrive and it can be difficult for them to make new friends, often leading to feelings of isolation.
2. Language Barrier
Most olim don’t come to Israel already fluent in Hebrew. This can lead to difficulties getting around successfully on a daily basis. As part of making aliyah, you are provided five free months of ulpan. There are different ulpan programs that fit people’s needs to help them learn Hebrew. Other ways to learn Hebrew in a less formal setting are available such as Citizencafe.
3. Finding a Job and Apartment
Finding a job in Israel can be very difficult. If you already have a strong background in a certain area, it’s important to focus on finding a job that suits your skills. There are resources that help olim find jobs in their field that aren’t advertised elsewhere. There are also headhunters that work specifically with olim to find jobs that suit them. In addition to finding a job, find an apartment can also be difficult for several reasons. Apartments tend to go fast, and they are not always affordable. Nefesh B’Nefesh is able to help olim find affordable housing, as well as employment.
The bureaucracy in Israel can be difficult to manage. It can take a long time for all kinds of records to be processed, and not just for olim. If you want to make Aliyah, be sure to start early on any documents you may need to make sure you get the benefits you are entitled to as an oleh by the time you arrive in Israel.
No matter what country you’re coming from, the culture is not the same as it is in Israel. While many people who make aliyah are familiar with shabbat and kashrut, and may even be familiar with aspects of Israeli society from previous visits, the day-to-day life in Israel can take time to adjust to. Take the time to learn and understand all aspects of Israeli society and culture, and you will feel less overwhelmed.
While there are many challenges that olim face when moving to Israel, they are not on their own. A nonprofit organization called KeepOlim helps serve olim after they make aliyah so they don’t end up going back to their home countries due to the frustration of moving to Israel can cause. One of their programs, called “Adopt an Oleh” matches an oleh with an Israeli who can take them out of help them when they go to the bank. Another one of their programs is called “No Oleh Alone”, which matches olim with host families for the holidays. The organization “Kol Zchut” has information on it’s website about financial assistance, and housing, education, and healthcare benefits and rights. In addition, olim are able to receive support when they first get to Israel. Depending on your status as an oleh chadash, you are entitled to certain benefits. Most of them are designed to ease the financial hardships that can come with making aliyah, such as rental assistance, income tax reductions, and property tax reductions. In addition to financial benefits, olim can also get up to 12 months of free health coverage, and ulpan courses for free.