31% increase in Jewish immigration to Israel so far this year

Fewer people moving from Russia, but US, France, Ukraine, Belarus, Argentina, UK, Brazil, South Africa and Ethiopia all see an uptick in rate, despite pandemic

Ethiopian Immigrants arrive in Israel as part of Operation Tzur Israel, March 11, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Ethiopian Immigrants arrive in Israel as part of Operation Tzur Israel, March 11, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Jewish immigration to Israel has increased by 31 percent in 2021 so far, according to data released Sunday by the Immigration Ministry and Jewish Agency ahead of a national day on Tuesday to celebrate people making the move.

According to the data, the largest number of Jewish immigrants this year has been from Russia (5,075) despite a 5% decrease in the number coming from that country since last year.

There have been 3,104 new immigrants to Israel from the United States, an increase of 41% on the first nine months of 2020.

Additionally, 2,819 new immigrants moved to Israel from France (up 55%), 2,123 from Ukraine (up 4%), 780 from Belarus (up 69%), 633 from Argentina (up 46% ), 490 from the United Kingdom (up 20% ), 438 from Brazil (up 4% ) and 373 from South Africa (up 56%).

There were 1,589 immigrants from Ethiopia, thanks to Operation Tzur Israel, a government initiative to bring members of the country’s Jewish community to the country.

According to the data, more than half of the Jewish immigrants to Israel so far this year are under age 35, with about 23.4% age 0-17 and 33.4% age18-35. In addition, 16.3% were age 36-50, 13% were 51-64 and 13.9% were over 65.

The arrival of French Jews who made aliyah, at Ben Gurion International Airport on July 10, 2017. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

The ministry said 2,184 of the new immigrants moved to Jerusalem, 2,122 to Tel Aviv, 2,031 to Netanya, 1,410 to Haifa and 744 to Ashdod.

Immigration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata welcomed the figures, praising the contribution Jewish immigrants have made to Israeli society.

“I am pleased to launch Aliyah Week for 2021 where we salute olim [immigrants] for their contribution to the State of Israel. I worked in the government to ensure aliyah does not stop for a moment — also during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns — because aliyah is the realization of the Zionist dream,” she said in an English-language statement, using the Hebrew terms for Jewish immigration and immigrants to Israel.

Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata welcomes new immigrants to Israel on August 3, 2020. (Shlomi Amsalem)

“I am pleased by the tremendous increase in the number of olim who decided to make aliyah to Israel since the beginning of the year,” she said.

Last year, the aliyah rate dropped by nearly 40 percent due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some 21,200 Jews immigrated to Israel in 2020, compared to around 33,500 the year before, constituting a drop of 36.7 percent.

AFP contributed to this report.

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