The majority of those who moved to Israel last year came from areas in the former Soviet Union, mostly Ukraine and Russia, according to figures released Tuesday from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics.
Immigration rose by just two percent, with the arrival of 16,884 new immigrants (olim) — but the lion’s share were from eastern Europe. Of those who were not from the FSU, 17 percent came from France, 13 percent arrived from the United States and eight percent flew in from Ethiopia.
What a difference a year can make.
This year’s figures are likely to show an increase, given the brewing attempt by Russia to re-swallow Ukraine, and the rapidly rising anti-Semitism in France.
The Jewish Agency released a statement that by the end of March 854 French Jews arrived in Israel – a 312 percent increase over the same period a year earlier.
European Jewish Congress President Moshe Cantor also is warning that Jews are being targeted nearly daily in anti-Semitic incidents. He adds that increasing numbers of Jews are contemplating aliyah as an option – and that most are looking for a way out of Europe.
In Ukraine, the Jewish mayor of Kharkov was shot in the back and critically wounded by unidentified would-be assassins earlier this week. Israeli doctors were sent to the eastern Ukrainian city to attend to Mayor Gennady Kernes; upon seeing the extent of his wounds, it was decided to airlift him to Israel for advanced medical treatment.
A third of those polled by the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency in 2013 said they avoided wearing religious-appearing clothing and/or symbols due to fears of being identified as Jews. In addition, 23 percent stayed away from Jewish events and venues.
In 2013, Europeans formed the majority of immigrants – 64 percent – followed by those from the Americas and Oceania (21 percent), Africa (9 percent) and Asia (6 percent), according to the CBS report. Immigrants from the Americas – more females than males – settled primarily in the central region, in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.