As Purim approaches, thousands of Israeli children and families grapple with poverty
(JTA) — Jewish immigration to Israel during the first quarter of 2014 increased by 50 percent over the corresponding period last year, mainly due to arrivals from France and Ukraine.
In total, immigration to Israel under its Law of Return for Jews and their descendants during the first four months of 2014 increased by 50 percent over the first quarter of 2013, from 4,073 to 6,101, according to data compiled by the Jewish Agency for Israel ahead of its Board Of Governors meeting, which is scheduled to open on Sunday in Jerusalem.
The figures do not cover immigration from Ethiopia, which ended last year with the arrival of the last of the Falash Mura.
Nearly all of the increase, or 93 percent of the difference, comes from Western Europe and Ukraine.
Of the 2,652 new immigrants who immigrated to Israel, or made aliyah, from Western Europe in the first quarter of 2014, more than 80 percent were from France, where Jewish community leaders have warned of growing anti-Semitism.
The corresponding period last year brought to Israel only 789 new immigrants from that part of the world, of whom 58 percent were French.
In Ukraine, where the government was toppled this year in a revolution that sparked an armed territorial dispute with Russia and Russian-backed separatists, the Jewish Agency was responsible for bringing to Israel a total of 1,107 Jews during the months January-April this year, compared to only 592 new immigrants during those months last year.
Immigration from other parts of the former Soviet Union increased by 10 percent over the first quarter of 2014, bringing a total of 1,642 new immigrants.
Immigration from North America during the first quarter of 2014 increased to 621, an 18-percent rise over the 525 who came during the months January-April of 2013.
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