Jewish immigration to Israel rose five percent in 2018 over the previous year, driven by a 45% boost in Russian Jews moving to Israel.
The figures were released ahead of the new year by the Jewish Agency for Israel, the primary Israeli organization handling aliya, or Jewish immigration, to the state.
The group registered over 29,600 Jewish immigrants in 2018, according to projections through the end of December, a rise of some 4.6% over the 2017 figure of 28,220.
The increase was driven by immigration from Russia, the agency said. Israel took in over 10,500 Russian immigrants in 2018, a 45% jump from 2017.
Aliya was down from most other major Jewish communities. Some 6,500 Jewish immigrants came from Ukraine, a 9% drop; 3,550 from the US and Canada, equal to last year’s figure; 2,660 from France, a 25% drop; 660 from Brazil, a 4% drop; and 330 from the United Kingdom, a 4% drop.
Argentina and South Africa saw increases, though with very modest overall numbers. Some 330 Argentinians immigrated to Israel, a 17% jump from last year, and about 320 South Africans, a slim 2% boost.
Jewish Agency chair Isaac Herzog welcomed the overall increase, saying in a statement Sunday, “Every Jew who comes to Israel and establishes a home here completes another piece of the wonderful mosaic of the Jewish people in their historic homeland. After 70 years of the state’s independence and the tremendous number of olim who have already made it to Israel, the potential for even greater Aliyah remains significant, and the Jewish Agency will continue to work to achieve that goal.”
The end-of-year figures were made up of exact statistics through the end of November, as well as planned and projected immigration figures for the month of December, the organization said.