The Jewish Agency boasted on Tuesday of a 10 percent increase in Aliyah in 2015 compared with the year before, but buried beneath the statistics are the fact that Jews in North America are not so gung-ho to live in Israel or do not feel threatened enough to leave.
The number of ‘Olim” (new immigrants) this year was more than 30,000, the highest level since 2003, but when Jews from France and Ukraine are excluded from the statistics, the numbers are disappointing.
France led the chart with the arrival of approximately 7,900 immigrants, compared with 7,200 last year, an all-time record for French Aliyah. The number of olim from Ukraine was approximately 7,000, a 16% increase from 2014. Another 6,000 Jews move to Israel from Russia, a 40% increase over 2014.
The Jewish Agency stated:
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.
The picture was entirely different when it comes to the United States and Canada, from where only 3,770 immigrants arrived in Israel this past year, 100 less than in the previous year.
Half of the immigrants to Israel in 2015 were under the age of 30 and 8,200 were under the age of 19, a significant 20% increase from 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.