Breakthrough: Israeli ID Numbers to be Offered to Student Visa Holders

Chaim V’Chessed has reported extensively on difficulties encountered by foreign residents of Israel. These residents, many of whom hold student visas, are legally eligible for a wide array of benefits offered by the Israeli government. There are, however, numerous obstacles that foreigners face in obtaining these benefits. This is primarily due to the fact that each government office assigns its own unique identity number to these residents. Hence, foreign residents often find themselves holding separate ID numbers for Bituach Leumi, Tax Authority, driver’s licenses and other services. Moreover, foreigners cannot obtain certain services that they are entitled to, since they lack an Israeli ID number.

This topic was raised in a groundbreaking Knesset committee hearing chaired by MK Yitzchak Pindrus in January. The committee has continued working on this matter for the past several months in close cooperation with Chaim V’Chessed representatives.

On June 6, MK Pindrus chaired a follow-up hearing of the committee. The committee heard from Eyal Siso, Director General of the Interior Ministry as well as Chaim V’Chessed representatives Rachel Morgenstern and Hadas Teller, who also testified. At the hearing, Mr. Siso made a bombshell announcement. He shared that in the very near future, student visa holders will have the option of obtaining an Israeli ID number, which will serve them in all government offices.

It is hoped that this striking breakthrough will greatly ease the lives of foreign residents of Israel. It should be noted that the details of this policy are currently being hammered out, and it will take several weeks before a proper protocol is in place. Chaim V’Chessed is examining the various ramifications of this new process, and is in dialogue with the relevant government agencies. We advise foreign residents not to apply for ID numbers at this point until there is more clarity on the matter. Chaim V’Chessed will publish further updates as this process develops.

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