Olim to Be Restricted in Purchase of Imported Goods

A customs regulation limiting the privilege of new immigrants to purchase imported goods, has been re-instated as part of the government’s new economic measures designed to save foreign currency. The measure had been in effect previously but was suspended in 1970. It ends foreign currency grants to importers who supply foreign-made goods to immigrants without the payment of customs duties.

Immigrants from the Soviet Union will be affected inasmuch as most of them arrive in Israel without foreign currency and almost always without Western currencies. They will now have to purchase Israel-made products if they wish to enjoy customs privileges. Immigrants who bring foreign currency with them or goods purchased abroad before their arrival in Israel will continue to be exempt from customs duties. A restriction imposed earlier this year, however, limits the duty-free goods immigrants may bring into the country to those purchased in their country of origin.

ENCOURAGES OLIM TO ADOPT IMMIGRANT STATUS

In a related development, the Interior Minister has proposed measures to encourage settlers to adopt new immigrant status immediately upon arrival in Israel instead of temporary resident status. The proposals, contained in a memorandum which the Ministry presented to the Cabinet, would improve the privileges of new immigrants in relation to those enjoyed by temporary residents.

Newcomers to Israel are offered a choice between the two classifications and are granted similar privileges regardless of which they choose. But immigrants are required to do military service after two years in the country while temporary residents may postpone military duty until they assume immigrant status, usually four years after their arrival.

The Interior Ministry proposed a four-year grace period for both classifications. It also suggested that new immigrants receive the full measure of privileges on arrival but would withhold some of them from temporary residents until they applied for citizenship.

The Ministry proposed that the passports of Israelis living abroad should not be extended if they fail to return home for compulsory military service. The army has made a similar proposal.

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