You have been living in Eretz Yisrael for the past few months or years, and now the time has come to move on. Just like coming to Eretz Yisrael was overwhelming, leaving can be challenging too. We hope that this guide will help mitigate the stress involved in this formidable undertaking.
To keep or not to keep?
You will be surprised at how much you’ve accumulated here! Moving is the time to evaluate what you want to keep and what you don’t. You might choose to sell, give away, or throw out the things you do not want to bring along with you. Here are some considerations to bear in mind:
- Israeli appliances will not work in the United States without a converter, so if that is your destination, you’ll want to leave those behind. These appliances can be used in certain parts of Europe, though.
- Items that are in good condition and that you still use on a regular basis might be worth keeping. You will have to weigh selling items for a reduced price, which you will need to buy at full price at your destination versus the difficulty and expense of schlepping.
- Make sure to keep essential items, however small, that you might need during the first few weeks of settling in abroad. Items such as an opened bottle of Tylenol can really come in handy before you’re fully settled.
- Used items are generally sold at a discount of 10% per year of use.
- Furniture is often sold to the tenants who will be taking over your apartment. You can offer the incoming tenants appliances and accessories that you would like to sell, too.
- If the incoming tenants will not be purchasing your furniture, try arranging a moving sale. You can also employ the services of used furniture agents, though they will obviously take a commission.
Many gemachim will gladly come to pick up anything you do not want or manage to sell, including packages of food or cleaning supplies.
Shipping and Transport
The items you are planning to keep can be transported to your destination in a number of ways, depending upon their size, weight and value.
- In your suitcase Certain small, lightweight items can be packed in your suitcases when you leave. Most airlines allow for one 50-pound (23-kilogram) suitcase per adult passenger and children with fully paid tickets. Infants generally have different allowances. Confirm your airline’s baggage allowance before packing.
- Lifts To transport heavier and/or bulkier items (e.g. pieces of furniture), or if your belongings exceed the baggage restrictions on your airline, arrange to send a lift. Lifts are shipments that are measured according to size. The cost is determined by how many pallets your belongings fill.
The size of a pallet is usually 1 x 1.2 meters in perimeter and 1.8 meters high. You can fill the pallet as you please. Be creative with saving as much space as you can. Compact blankets and clothing with vacuum packs, use towels to wrap delicate items instead of wasting space on extra packaging materials, and arrange your belongings as efficiently as you can.
There are several shipping companies to choose from, all with different service options and price ranges. If your belongings will fit onto one pallet, go with the cheapest shipping company. If you are short on time or have lots of things to pack, use a company whose service includes packaging materials and/or packing for you. Just make sure that the company measures your lift in front of you to ensure that it is done accurately.
Lifts are generally uninsured. Some shipping companies offer insurance at approximately 2% of the estimated value of your shipment, plus a deductible if damage or loss occurs, in addition to standard shipment costs. Silver can be sent separately. You can try contacting a silver store to see if they provide such a service.
Seforim are often shipped overseas. You can try contacting seforim stores to see if they provide this service.
Depending upon your destination country, you may be charged tax for imported goods. Be aware that these fees may apply to your shipment. Consider the applicable taxes when deciding how and whether to transport your bulkier belongings.
Before leaving, there are several technicalities to take care of. You’ll have to close down phone and internet accounts, transfer ownership with gas, water, and electric companies, notify government offices, and gather medical and school records, if applicable. Here are some pointers and links to make the job a little less complicated.
Phone and Internet Cancellations
You can do it yourself, but www.Netek.co.il will do the work for you – at no charge! If you have a teudat zehut number, check out the website to see which of your phone, cell phone, and internet services they can cancel for you, free of charge, in just three easy steps. Be sure you receive confirmation from Netek that the line/s was cancelled.
Please note: Netek has a disclaimer which says that they cannot guarantee that your lines were cancelled, even if they send you confirmation of such. It is highly recommended calling the phone company to assure the account was closed. It is possible to request a copy of the fax Netek sent to the phone provider requesting cancellation.
If you do not use Netek, the following information will help you disconnect directly through your service provider.
To cancel your landline phone plan, contact your service provider.
Bezeq www.bezeq.co.il • 199
HOT www.hot.net.il • *6900 / 1-800-077-077
Cellcom www.cellcom.co.il • *3123 / 1-800-052-052
Partner www.partner.co.il • *2300 / 1-800-800-054
To cancel your cell phone plan(s), contact your service provider. Most cell phone providers have forms that you can fax or email them to cancel a plan. You can cancel using Netek as well. If you have an international number on your cell phone plan, you may be able to have your next service provider (e.g. Verizon) request it from your current one (e.g. Golan).
Partner www.partner.co.il • 074-705-4033
Cellcom www.cellcom.co.il • *2426 / 1-800-052-052
Hot www.hot.net.il • *6900
Golan www.golantelecom.co.il • *0058 / 1-800-016-058
Pelephone www.pelephone.co.il • 1800-050-166
012 www.012.net • *6012 / 1-800-055-888 (from outside Israel: 972-74-707-3211)
Contact your service provider to let them know when you will be leaving. If the incoming tenants plan on having internet service in the apartment, mention that to the representative you speak to. You may just decide to transfer the account to the new tenants. The new tenants should call the provider, as well.
VOIP Lines (DSL)
Consider what you want to do about your VOIP line when you leave Israel. You might choose not to disconnect it at all. Because VOIP lines work over the Internet, they can be maintained anywhere. They are often even more cost-efficient than regular landlines. Alternatively, you can transfer ownership of the line to incoming tenants by contacting your service provider.
If you are not sure what you’d like to do, it can wait. You can cancel your line from abroad easily, and you might want to explore the options at your destination before making a final decision.
To transfer ownership of your water bill to the incoming tenants, call *2070 or 02-565-1111, or fill out this online form. Follow instructions on the form. You can also fax (1-532-565-1111), email (email@example.com), or mail (Derech Chevron 101, Jerusalem 9110002) the form to Hagihon, the water company. The most recent water meter reading is required on the form.
Before leaving your apartment, read the current number on the apartment’s electric meter. Dial 103. Provide the contract number located at the top left of the electric bill and the meter reading. The company will create a bill for you to pay on the spot over the phone via credit card. The next bill to the address will begin from this point.
If you have the next tenant’s information, provide his name, teudat zehut/passport number, and phone number, and the new bill will show his name. Otherwise, let the company know that you are leaving so they can remove you from the bill.
From outside Israel, Chevrat HaChashmal (Electric Company) can be reached at 972-4-818-7100.
For the new tenant to put his name on the bill, he should send the completed form along with a rental contract, letter from yeshiva (if applicable), passports and visas to 1-800-200-103. The name change incurs a nominal fee.
The name change can also be done using this online form.
Contact your gas provider for information on transferring ownership to the incoming tenants.
Amisragas www.amisragas.co.il • *3626 •03-564-4124
Gaz Yagel www.gazyagel.co.il • *2376 • 1-800-288-444
Supergas www.supergas.co.il • *3114 •09-830-8103
Pazgas www.pazgas.co.il • *9636 • 1-800-66-77-88
Government Offices and Other Bureaucratic Matters
Before you leave, let the Arnona office know that you are moving. If you’ve already paid Arnona for the full year and need a refund, they will return whatever money you paid beyond your period of residency. If you have not yet paid your Arnona bill for the current year, they will generate a bill that covers up until your date of departure. To take your name off the Arnona bill, simply fill out the online form provided by the Iriyah for renters leaving their apartments. You will need the ID information and confirmation of your landlord aside from relevant dates and property details.
Bituach Leumi can be cancelled from abroad.
First, contact Bituach Leumi at +972-8-936-9669 to pay any outstanding bills.
An Israeli citizen should send this form via his online Bituach Leumi account.
If you are a non-Israeli citizen, to cancel your Bituach Leumi account, submit this sample letter along with copies of everyone’s passports labeled with their 77 numbers at this link. If you have documentation that will prove you plan to permanently live outside Israel, you can send that in, as well. This might include an acceptance letter to an educational institution, a rental contract, or anything similar.
Once your Bituach Leumi is cancelled, your basic coverage in Kupat Cholim will cease automatically as well. It is advisable to follow up to ensure that, besides for your basic plan, any supplementary insurances (e.g Adif or C) were cancelled as well. Do this by calling your kupat cholim branch.
Kupat Cholim/Medical Records
You will need to close your kupat cholim account so that they stop billing you for their services. Contact your kupah for details.
If you are a member of Bituach Leumi, your kupat cholim membership will stop as soon as your Bituach Leumi file is closed. However, you should cancel your supplemental insurance plan separately, if you have one (e.g. Maccabi Sheli, Meuhedet Adif/C).
If you are a Meuhedet member, cancellation can be done either:
- In person – visit your local clinic and sign a form stating that you wish to stop receiving Meuhedet services.
- Via fax – submit a letter that lists your name, your Meuhedet ID number, the current date and the date of your departure. Explain that you wish to stop receiving services. Fax number: 02-531-2778. If you do not have Meuhedet, contact your kupat cholim to confirm that they accept fax requests.
It is highly advisable to obtain printouts of your family’s medical records. Make sure to request this for each member of your family. Additionally, you will need your children’s immunization records. These are usually found in the kartis maakav gedila, the booklet that is filled out at each Tipat Chalav appointment.
It is advisable to scan or copy all medical information for safekeeping.
Bank Account and Other Finances
- Withdraw all the money from your bank account and visit your bank (in person) to have them close down your account. If you’ve emptied your bank account but have not visited your bank to officially close down the account, most banks will automatically close down the account in a matter of months. However, it is inadvisable to leave your account open once it’s empty as it can start accruing interest and/or fees if you set up hora’ot keva or if you owe money at all.
- If you owe any money such as bills, parking tickets, etc., pay it off before you go.
- If you deposited money in gemachim, remember to take it out before your move.
Contact your children’s schools to obtain academic records and transcripts.
Tzeischem l’shalom. Wishing you much success!