December 30, 2009
Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky: "Every new immigrant strengthens the country and is a strategic asset to Israel."
JERUSALEM (EJP)--- 3,767 new immigrants from North America will have moved to Israel in 2009, an increase of 17 percent compared with 2008, which saw 3,210 newcomers from the US and Canada, the Jewish Agency for Israel announced.
Globally, there was also an increase of 17% in the number of new immigrants to Israel from around the world to over 16,200, excluding immigrants from Ethiopia.
The largest growth in percentage of immigrants by geographic area was from Eastern Europe (27%) and from the former Soviet Union (22%), followed by North America (17%).
Countries with the largest rise in the number of new immigrants included the UK, with an increase of 34%, to 835 new immigrants, Argentina (51% to 325), Spain (52%, to 38) and Scandinavian countries (104%, to 57 new immigrants).
Aliyah or immigration from Ethiopia dropped this year to under 300, but is expected to rise to 2008 levels of approximately 1,500 immigrants in 2010.
“Every new immigrant strengthens the country and is a strategic asset to Israel,” Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky said at a press conference as he announced the immigration data.
Sharansky thanked Jewish Agency partners Nefesh B’Nefesh in North America and Ami in France for their work.
In 2009, special arrangements were made to bring Jews to Israel from sensitive regions: 47 Jews were brought to Israel from Yemen, 25 from Morocco, 13 from Tunisia, 3 from Lebanon and 90 others from several additional countries.
Of the 3,767 new immigrants this year from North America, 3,324 were from the US (representing a 19% increase compared number of US immigrants in 2008) and 443 were from Canada (a 6% increase compared number of Canadian immigrants in 2008).
New immigrants from North America took advantage of the Jewish Agency absorption opportunities.
“We are proud of the attractive and innovative absorption options which we provide olim – from Hebrew classes to job options,” said Liran Avisar, head of the Jewish Agency’s Aliyah delegation in North America.
“These difficult economic times have prompted people who were considering aliyah to decide that now is the time.”
In the last week of 2009 (and included in the annual figures), 400 new immigrants will arrive in Israel – 200 from North America on a flight arriving Wednesday December 30 in partnership with Nefesh B’Nefesh and 210 from South Africa, France and the UK on Jewish Agency-arranged flights.