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On Independence Day, Israel sees upsurge in emmigration from Ukraine, France

28,000 new immigrants in 2014, start of 2015; some 7,000 Ukrainian Jews made aliya, 6,377 new French arrivals

Illustrative photo: President Reuven Rivlin welcomes new immigrants from the US and Canada at Ben Gurion Airport, August 12, 2014. The arrivals, on a Nefesh B'Nefesh 'Soldiers Flight', were set to join the Israel Defense Forces. (Photo credit: Mark Neyman/GPO/ FLASH90)
Illustrative photo: President Reuven Rivlin welcomes new immigrants from the US and Canada at Ben Gurion Airport, August 12, 2014. The arrivals, on a Nefesh B'Nefesh 'Soldiers Flight', were set to join the Israel Defense Forces. (Photo credit: Mark Neyman/GPO/ FLASH90)

Among the revelers marking Israel’s 67th Independence Day on Wednesday evening, 27,993 were celebrating it for the first time in the country.

Of the nearly 28,000 immigrants who arrived over the past year and the first few months of 2015, the majority came from Ukraine and France (6,996 and 6,377, respectively).

France has seen a wave of anti-Semitic attacks over the past year, with violent protesters during the summer months when Israel was conducting a war in Gaza, and, in early 2015, a terror attack in which four Jews were killed in a kosher supermarket.

In Ukraine, pro-Russian rebels have taken over Crimea in the east, throwing the entire country into turmoil.

Meanwhile, 5,040 immigrants came from Russia and 3,208 came from the US.

Most of the new immigrants are in their teens, a statement from the Ministry of Immigration Absorption said.

The cities which drew the highest numbers of new immigrants were Tel Aviv-Jaffa (3,275 new arrivals), Netanya (3,012) and Jerusalem (2,828).

“For the new immigrants coming from all around the world, celebrating their first Independence Day in Israel marks a stepping stone in their acclimatizing in the country, a day where all Israeli citizens unite around the shared identity that defines the Jewish state and feel the bravery of the people that realized our independence,” Immigration Absorption Minister Sofa Landver said.

“I am both overjoyed and proud that the new immigrants experience this holiday as normal Israeli citizens,” she added.

Sofa Landver (photo credit: Flash90)

The data, published ahead of Independence Day, show that the trends that began in 2014 continued into 2015.

In 2014, France led the chart with more than 6,600, compared to less than 4,000 in 2013.

The wave of immigration from the Ukraine was also fully underway by the end of 2014. Immigration from the Ukraine increased by about 190 percent over 2013, mainly due to the civil war.

Landver expressed hope that 2015 will be a record year for immigration to Israel with 30,000 or more.

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