Israel Immigration in 2015 at a 12-Year High

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Israel Immigration in 2015 at a 12-Year High

Written by Michael Bachner/TPS on December 29, 2015

Jerusalem (TPS) – Immigration to Israel rose by 10% in 2015 compared to the previous year thus making it the year with the most immigration since 2003. Estimates released by the Israeli Ministry of Aliyah [Jewish immigration to Israel] and Immigrant Absorption and by the Jewish Agency show that more than 30,000 new ‘olim’ [Jewish immigrants] moved to Israel in 2015.

The largest number of immigrants arrived from France, which had been hit by several terror attacks in 2015, some directed at Jewish targets. This may serve as an explanation for the all-time high figure of 7,900 French immigrants to Israel.

Immigration from Ukraine represents another noticeable figure with some 7,000 olim throughout 2015. This represents a 16% increase from 2014 and a 230% increase compared to 2013.

The Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Aliyah said in a statement that they have been actively encouraging aliyah from France and Ukraine due to the predicament of the Jewish communities in those countries and that this effort will continue.

“We are in a rare window of opportunity,” said Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Ze’ev Elkin. “The number of immigrants has exceeded 30,000 for the first time in more than a decade. The number of immigrants rose by 50% in the past two years, and this trend will continue.”

“It is our duty to do everything necessary to take advantage of this rare opportunity and to invest efforts in both immigrant absorption and aliyah encouragement so that a figure of 50,000 immigrants in one year does not seem imaginary,” he added.

Aliyah figures for 2015 point to an approximately 25% increase in aliyah from eastern Europe, with the arrival of some 15,000 immigrants. Some 9,330 immigrants arrived in Israel from western Europe in 2015 and approximately 3,770 immigrants arrived in Israel from the United States and Canada.

Half of the immigrants to Israel in 2015 were under the age of 30, with 8,200 of them under the age of 19. The youngest immigrant arrived in Israel from the United States in September at the age of a month and a half. The oldest immigrant arrived in July at the age of 97.

Tel Aviv received the most immigrants in 2015, with the arrival of 3,650 new residents from abroad. Netanya came in second with 3,500 immigrants, Jerusalem with 3,030, and Haifa with 2,250.

“The high number of immigrants, particularly from western countries, attests to the drawing power of the Zionist idea,” said Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky. “The fact that immigrants choose to come to Israel is a sign that Israel fills their lives with meaning that they cannot find elsewhere.”

“This choice requires that we make every effort to enable them to become immediately integrated in the workforce and in the education system so that they, like those who came before them, may plant roots in Israel and enrich Israeli society,” added Sharansky.

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