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MK: Let New Immigrants Drive – Without the Fuss

MK Lipman pushes for automatic licenses for immigrant drivers, and calls to end high fees and long waits.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 11/5/2013, 8:06 PM

MK Dov Lipman
MK Dov Lipman
Flash 90

The Knesset’s Immigration Committee tackled the issue of licensing drivers from overseas in a meeting Tuesday. The meeting was called by MK Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid), who immigrated to Israel from North America.

The process of obtaining an Israeli driver’s license requires “an absurd amount of time, effort and money,” he charged.

MKs Yoel Rozbozov (Yesh Atid) and Uri Maklev (Yahadut Hatorah) joined Lipman in questioning Transportation Ministry Tzion Mizrachi. Lipman asked why immigrants are allowed to use their driver’s licenses from their countries of origin for one year, but must later undergo testing in order to obtain an Israeli license.

Mizrachi argued that the Transportation Ministry must uphold universal licensing standards for safety reasons. Lipman countered, “And during that first year in which we rely on their previous license and experience, we don’t care about safety on the roads?”

Other common complaints from immigrants that were brought up during the meeting included inadequate translation of driving exam material, insurance company policy that charges immigrants as if they were new drivers, and the cost – and time – that immigrants are forced to invest in the licensing process.

MK Rozbozov asked the Transportation Ministry to report back in 60 days with its response.

Following the meeting, MK Lipman said, “I will not cease my efforts on to front until new immigrants with driving experience can simply exchange their previous licenses for an Israeli one.   Today's hearing was a good first step towards accomplishing that goal.”