Jewish immigration to Israel hit a ten-year high in 2014, with over 26,500 people making aliyah over the course of the year, the Jewish Agency said Wednesday.
According to statistics released by the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Ministry, Israel saw a 32% rise in immigration compared to 2013, and the highest immigration rate since 2002, when 33,539 made aliyah.
For the first time since the founding of the state, France topped the list of countries from which immigrants moved to Israel this year, with over a quarter — about 7,000 people — making the leap. It was the largest single-year movement of French Jews to Israel since the founding of the state. Half that many moved to Israel in 2013.
“We expect that some 10,000 new immigrants will come from France alone next year, and we will surpass 30,000 immigrants from around the world – and even more,” Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver said in a statement.
Immigration from Ukraine nearly tripled from 2013 to 2014, rising from 2,020 to 5,840 in 2014 as civil war gripped the country.
“The Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption are meeting the challenge posed by the situation on the ground by expanding operations in Ukraine and offering immigrants special financial assistance,” the Jewish Agency said in a statement.
According to Central Bureau of Statistics data, emigration rates are also declining. The figures released in recent months suggest that Israelis are much less inclined to permanently leave the country than they were 10 or 20 years ago, with 2012, the last year for which figures on long-term emigration are available, showing the lowest emigration rates since the founding of the state in 1948.