Israeli students receive New Zealand citizenship in Dunedin

October 7, 2017 by Keren Cook
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Israeli siblings Ari and Michelle Fridman pledged oaths as two of the sixty-eight people to officially become New Zealand citizens at a ceremony in Dunedin this week.

Ari and Michelle Fridman

The two are students currently studying at the University of Otago and enjoying “the student bubble, protected from what I consider to be ignorant opinions,” Ari Fridman said.

Living in Dunedin is a vastly different environment from the Israeli farming village in which they lived.  The two grew up in a farming community 10 minutes drive from Tel Aviv and moved to New Zealand in 2009.

Their new South Island city is “very politically different” to the right-wing country of their birth.

Michelle Fridman said they had good memories of their homeland.

“They’re more political in schools over there, but I think they push children to reach higher,” she says.

The students say: “There are many political issues in Israel.

“It is surrounded by enemies, but New Zealand is just surrounded by water. That affects everything from behavior to humour.

“People here are also political, but less aggressively,” says Mr Fridman.

The two students are presently enrolled in degree programs at the Southland University. Ari Fridman is studying medicine and Michelle Fridman is studying health science.

While officially becoming New Zealanders was exciting they were familiar with the ceremonies from when their older sister and both parents became citizens of New Zealand previously.


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