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Fleeing Ukraine and France, new immigrants drive up aliya numbers

Immigration figures hit five-year high, up 28% from last year, as 24,800 new arrivals call Israel home

Marissa Newman is The Times of Israel political correspondent.

The Zheludev family is reunited at Ben-Gurion Airport upon their arrival from Ukraine September 22, 2104. (photo credit: Zed Films/Courtesy)
The Zheludev family is reunited at Ben-Gurion Airport upon their arrival from Ukraine September 22, 2104. (photo credit: Zed Films/Courtesy)

Immigration to Israel hit a five-year record in the last Jewish calendar year, which ends on Rosh Hashanah Wednesday evening, primarily due to an influx of Jews from increasingly anti-Semitic France and conflict-laden Ukraine, the Immigration and Absorption Ministry and Jewish Agency for Israel announced Monday.

The statement came as a planeload bearing 140 immigrants from Russia and Ukraine landed in Ben Gurion International Airport Monday.

Some 24,800 new immigrants were recorded in the last year, marking a 28 percent increase from last year’s figures.

“The increase in immigration from the four corners of the globe even in a year in which our enemies tried to undermine our security and challenge Israel’s legitimacy demonstrates that Israel is a country that guarantees both the personal safety of its citizens and the future of the Jewish people,” Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky said. “Every one of the tens of thousands of immigrants who arrived in Israel this year brings an end to 2,000 years of wandering.”

Immigration rates from France and Ukraine more than doubled, from 2,650 to 6,000 for France, and 2,000 to 4,200 for Ukraine, presumably due to increased unrest in both countries. Italy also saw a dramatic upsurge as 270 immigrants arrived, twice the amount of last year.

More people made aliya from France than any other country for the first time ever.

Immigration from the US, UK and Belgium saw a slight increase, but the increase was not statistically significant. Russia saw a 22% jump, and South American rates rose by 20%.

In addition, the majority (60%) of new immigrants are under the age of 35. One quarter of these were under 18.

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