December 28, 2009 / 11 Tevet 5770
Seventeen percent increase in aliyah from North America for 2009 – nearly 3,800 from US, Canada, immigrate to Israel
Globally, aliyah increases also by 17% compared with ’08, excluding Ethiopian immigration
The Jewish Agency for Israel announced that 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.
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 increases 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 from Ethiopia, whose volume is directly dependent on the number of Ethiopians Israel’s Ministry of Interior grants aliyah eligibility to, 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 Sunday in Jerusalem announcing 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 also took advantage of unique Jewish Agency absorption opportunities – 300 attended Kibbutz Ulpan; 90 attended Ulpan Etzion (including 20 who are at the new campus in Haifa), and 200 are enrolled through the Student Authority in degree studies in Israel. “We are proud of the attractive and innovative absorption options which we provide olim – from Hebrew ulpan 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 (Dec. 30) in partnership with Nefesh B’Nefesh and 210 from South Africa, France and the UK on Jewish Agency-arranged flights.
The Jewish Agency, the world's largest Jewish nonprofit organization, is recognized by the Government of Israel to have responsibilities for:
- facilitating immigration and bringing Jews in distress to Israel;
- building Jewish identity by strengthening the connection of Jews around the world to Israel;
- narrowing educational gaps for youth in Israel through partnerships between communities in Israel and abroad.
A partnership of world Jewry with the people and State of Israel since 1929, the Jewish Agency is supported by Jewish communities abroad and other supporters of Israel.
The Jewish Agency for Israel is funded by Jewish Federations of North America, Keren Hayesod, major Jewish communities and federations, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, foundations and donors from Israel and around the world.