Jewish Agency: 20,000 immigrated to Israel during pandemic year

The Jewish Agency says 20,000 people have immigrated to Israel from 70 countries in 2020, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

That’s a drop of some 59 percent from 2019, which saw some 34,000 immigrants, the largest annual figure in the past decade.

Immigration levels from France and North America in 2020 were similar to last year, according to the Jewish Agency.

The Jewish Agency predicts that 250,000 will move to Israel in the next 3-5 years.

It notes: “Since the start of the year, the Jewish Agency has received around 160,000 inquiries about immigration to Israel, and has opened roughly 41,000 new aliyah application files, including 28,000 files from Western countries – twice the number opened in 2019. There was also a 41 percent increase in files opened for young adults aged 18-35 from Western countries.”

In this photo from the Jewish Agency, Immigration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata (left) and Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog (center) greet 119 new immigrants from Ethiopia at Ben Gurion Airport, May 21, 2020. (Shlomi Amsalem)