According to data compiled by The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption— the figures are not final and are based on preliminary estimates—Aliyah to Israel has hit a 12-year high in 2015, with the arrival of more than 30,000 new immigrants. This represents a 10% increase compared to 2014, when some 27,500 immigrants arrived in Israel.
50% of immigrants arriving in Israel in 2015 were under the age of 30. 8,200 immigrants were under the age of 19, a significant 20% increase from 2014. 6,950 were between the ages of 20 and 29, a 10% increase compared to 2014. The youngest immigrant arrived in Israel from the United States in September at the age of a month and a half. The oldest immigrant arrived in July at the age of 97.
Tel Aviv received the most immigrants in 2015, with the arrival of 3,650 new residents from abroad. Netanya came in second with 3,500 immigrants, Jerusalem with 3,030, and Haifa with 2,250.
For the second year running, France led the chart of Aliyah-driving countries in 2015, with the arrival of some 7,900 immigrants, compared to 7,200 last year. This figure also represents an all-time record for French Aliyah. The Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption are joining forces in order to further intensify efforts in France in light of rising interest in Aliyah due to the economic, social, and security situation in that country.
Some 7,000 new immigrants arrived in Israel from Ukraine, a 16% increase from 2014, when approximately 6,000 came to Israel. The Government of Israel’s 2015 decision to encourage Aliyah from France and Ukraine came due to the situation of the Jewish communities in those countries. In light of that decision, The Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption are expanding their efforts in those countries in order to ensure the immigrants’ optimal absorption into Israeli society, bearing in mind the unique characteristics of both French and Ukrainian immigrants.
Some 6,600 immigrants came from Russia, a 40% increase compared to 2014, in which 4,900 arrived in Israel, and a 60% increase compared to 2013, which saw the arrival of some 4,161 immigrants from Russia. Israel recently celebrated 25 years of Aliyah from the former Soviet Union, a movement that changed the face of Israeli society and made extraordinary contributions to this country.
Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky said in a statement: “The fact that immigrants choose to come to Israel is a sign that Israel invests their lives with meaning that they cannot find elsewhere. This choice requires that we make every effort to enable them to become immediately integrated in the workforce and in the education system, so that they, like those who came before them, may put down roots in Israel and enrich Israeli society.”
Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Ze’ev Elkin said in a statement: “We are in a rare window of opportunity… The number of immigrants rose by 50% in the past two years, and we haven’t heard the last word. It is our duty to do everything necessary to take advantage of this rare opportunity and invest efforts in both immigrant absorption and Aliyah encouragement, so that a figure of 50,000 immigrants in one year does not seem imaginary. If we will it, it is no dream.”
Aliyah figures for 2015 point to an overall increase of approximately 25% in Aliyah from eastern Europe, including the former Soviet Union, with the arrival of some 15,000 immigrants, compared with 12,300 in 2014. 9,330 immigrants arrived in Israel from western Europe in 2015, a 6% increase compared to the 8,880 who came in 2014. Approximately 3,770 immigrants arrived in Israel from the United States and Canada, compared with 3,870 in 2015.