Italian immigration to Israel to double in 2014

Weak economy, youth unemployment factors behind estimated 300 Italian Jews making aliya this year

Illustrative photo of a Boeing 747 El Al plane (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of a Boeing 747 El Al plane (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

MILAN, Italy — Italy is experiencing a sharp upsurge in Jews making aliya.

An estimated 300 Italian Jews are expected to move to Israel in 2014, the Italo-Israeli demographer Sergio DellaPergola told the Italian news agency ANSA on Friday. The Jewish Agency affirmed to JTA that the figure — more than double that of a year ago — was accurate.

Some 152 Jews made aliya from Italy in 2013, according to the Jewish Agency.

Several Italian Jewish leaders said the economic situation, including the difficulty for young people to find jobs, figured strongly in the aliya increase, with Jews feeling that “they can lead a better life in Israel.” They said the economic crisis hit the Jewish community in Rome particularly hard — many of the city’s 12,000 or so Jews are shopkeepers or run small businesses.

Italy’s overall jobless rate tops 12 percent; for young people the figure is more than 40 percent.

The Italian Jewish community has about 24,000 registered members.

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