New York, NY (PRWEB) December 30, 2013
According to data compiled by The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Israel Ministry of Immigration and Absorption, some 19,200 immigrants arrived in Israel in 2013, a modest increase from the 18,940 who arrived in 2012.
According to an analysis of the data, Israel experience programs for French Jewish youth and Aliyah encouragement efforts amongst the French Jewish community have borne fruit and brought about a dramatic 63% increase in immigration from France, with the arrival of 3,120 immigrants this year, compared to 1,916 in 2012.
Aliyah from Ethiopia was down 44 percent due to the conclusion of Operation Dove's Wings, which brought the remainder of those who have been deemed eligible to immigrate to Israel and which saw the arrival of 1,360 immigrants this year, compared to 2,432 last year.
2013 saw a seven percent increase in Aliyah from virtually all countries, with the arrival of some 17,500 immigrants from around the world, compared to some 16,230 in 2012. This does not include Aliyah from Ethiopia, the rate of which is determined by the Government of Israel, and which totaled 1,360 this year.
Minister of Immigration and Absorption Sofa Landver said: "The 2013 data proves that more and more Jews around the world realize that Israel is their home. Every immigrant who arrives in order to make his or her home in Israel fills me with joy and I hope Aliyah continues to increase. The Ministry of Immigration and Absorption will continue to make every effort to achieve this important goal and make the decision to come to Israel easier."
Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky said: "Israel is the beating heart of the Jewish people. That 19,200 Jews have chosen to establish their lives in Israel is a concrete expression of Israel's centrality to Jewish life and to Jews around the world. This is an era of Aliyah by choice, rather than Aliyah of rescue, and so it is important that we continue The Jewish Agency's efforts to strengthen the young generation's Jewish identity and deepen their connections to Israel."
2013 saw an overall increase of 35 percent in Aliyah from western Europe, with the arrival of 4,390 immigrants this year as opposed to 3,258 in 2012. The most dramatic increase was noted in Aliyah from France, which saw the arrival of 3,120 immigrants as opposed to 1,916 last year. This 63 percent increase is due in large part to the fact that thousands of French Jewish young people have been experiencing life in Israel through a range of Jewish Agency programs and to preparations undertaken by the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption and The Jewish Agency in advance of the coming year, which will see the introduction of new programs to ease the immigration and absorption process and make it easier for Israelis residing in France to return to Israel. The Ministry of Immigration and Absorption recently established a joint taskforce to reach out to Israelis living abroad and strengthen their connections to Israel.
Elsewhere in Western Europe, 510 new immigrants arrived from the United Kingdom (compared to 699 last year, a 27 percent decrease), 240 arrived from Belgium (compared to 164 last year, a 46 percent increase), 148 from Italy (compared to 160 last year, an 8 percent decrease), 74 from the Netherlands (a 57 percent increase), 54 from Scandinavia (an 8 percent increase), 96 from Spain and Portugal (a 3% increase), and 52 from elsewhere (a 21 percent increase). Additionally, some 130 immigrants arrived from Germany, similar to last year's number.
2013 saw the arrival of some 3,000 immigrants from North America, compared to 3,389 in 2012 (an 11 percent decrease). Some 2,680 immigrants arrived from the United States in 2013, compared to 3,070 last year (a 13 percent decline). 321 immigrants made Aliyah from Canada, roughly the same as last year's 319.
One thousand two hundred forty immigrants came to Israel from Latin America in 2013, a 34 percent increase over last year's 926. 324 came from Argentina, 210 from Peru, 204 from Brazil, 92 from Mexico, 80 from Uruguay, 78 from Chile, 71 from Colombia, 65 from Venezuela, and 116 from over elsewhere.
The largest group of immigrants to Israel in 2013 came from the former Soviet Union and numbered 7,520, compared to last year's 7,629 (a 1% decrease). Some 4,600 came to Israel from Russia, Belarus, and the Baltic states; 2,140 came from Ukraine and Moldova; 280 came from the Caucasus and 460 from Central Asia.
Two hundred seventy immigrants came from eastern Europe in 2013, compared to 293 in 2012 (an 8 percent decrease). Of that number, 160 came from Hungary, 42 from Romania, 25 from Poland, and 15 from Bulgaria.
An increase in Aliyah in 2013 was noted elsewhere, as well: 265 immigrants came from Oceania (primarily Australia and New Zealand), a 46% increase over the 182 who came in 2012, and 204 immigrants came to Israel from South Africa, a 19 percent increase over last year's 172.
Two hundred forty five immigrants came to Israel from Middle Eastern countries in 2013,a 4 percent increase over last year's 236. 74 came from Turkey, similar to the number in 2012. Eighty eight came from elsewhere in Asia and Africa, compared to 57 last year.
Another striking characteristic of this year's Aliyah is its youth: Some 60 percent of immigrants to Israel in 2013 were under the age of 35, including 37 percent between the ages of 18 and 34. This year also saw an increase in the number of young immigrants who participated in unique Ministry of Immigration and Absorption and Jewish Agency programs aimed at easing their integration into Israeli society. Both bodies attribute high importance to young immigrants – the Ministry is currently creating a Youth Division to address the unique needs of young people and The Jewish Agency is developing additional Aliyah tracks to appeal to younger Jews.
Like last year, a majority of the immigrants to Israel in 2013 were female (some 10,000, compared to 9,000 male immigrants). The oldest immigrant was a 103-year-old man from the United States and the youngest was five weeks old, also from the United States.
Thousands of those who arrived in 2013 are professionals and graduates of academic programs in the humanities, social sciences, life sciences, and exact sciences, and more than 700 are doctors and other healthcare professionals. Many have joined special Ministry of Immigration and Absorption and Jewish Agency programs for university graduates.
Jerusalem saw the arrival of the largest group of immigrants in 2013, some 2,400 in total. Tel Aviv received some 1,650 immigrants, a 20 percent increase over last year's 1,373.