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Ukraine war sees immigration to Israel more than double in past year

Ukrainians who fled the fighting in Ukraine land at Ben Gurion Airport outside Tel Aviv on March 17, 2022. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)
Ukrainians who fled the fighting in Ukraine land at Ben Gurion Airport outside Tel Aviv on March 17, 2022. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

Israel says that immigration to the country over the past 12 months hit a two-decade high, with influxes from Russia and war-torn Ukraine accounting for nearly three-quarters of new arrivals.

In a statement issued days before the start of the Jewish New Year holiday, Rosh Hashanah, Israel’s immigration ministry says 60,000 Jews had moved to the country during the last Jewish calendar year, more than double the 28,000 recorded the previous year.

Among those that had undertaken “aliyah” — meaning “rising up” in Hebrew, referring to Jewish immigration to Israel — Russians accounted for 47 percent, while 25 percent were people who came from Ukraine.

Under Israel’s law of return, anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent is entitled to Israeli citizenship.

Hebrew media reports that attempts by Russian Jews to qualify for Israeli immigration have spiked further following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent decision to call up 300,000 reservists to fight in the ongoing war in Ukraine.

There were, however, no official figures available on that reported acceleration.

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