September 22, 2011 / 23 Elul 5771
Significant Growth in the Number of Immigrants to Israel in 5771
Some 21,300 Immigrated to Israel in Past Jewish year, Compared to 17,883 in the Previous Year
New York, NY — At a time of growing tension in the Middle East and the ongoing campaign to delegitimize Israel around the world, the Jewish year that ends September 28 saw a dramatic increase in the number of Jews who chose to make their homes in Israel. According to the Jewish Agency, some 21,300 Jews moved to Israel from around the world in 5771. This is an increase of 19% compared to 5770, during which Israel absorbed 17,883 immigrants.
Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky said that "the choice of thousands of Jews to build their homes here is the deepest expression of a Diaspora Jew’s identification with Israel."
Minister of Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver added that "this data demonstrates the continuing trend of rising aliyah and the strengthening of Zionism. In recent years we have seen consistent aliyah, and at this important time the State of Israel must work to maintain the trend and continue to encourage Jews in the Diaspora to immigrate to Israel."
Of the 21,300 immigrants to Israel this past year, about 18,500 came from the former Soviet Union (FSU), North America, Latin America, Europe and other countries in the world. This is a significant increase of about 12%, compared to 16,560 immigrants from these countries in the previous year. Roughly 2,780 immigrants from Ethiopia made aliyah in 5771, compared to about 1,320 in the year 5770. The rate of immigration from Ethiopia is set by the government.
The statistics also show that most of the immigrants are young: From January to July 2011, approximately 62% of the olim were aged 0-34, of which about 36% are young adults between the ages of 18-34.
Approximately 8,290 immigrants arrived from the former Soviet Union, including from Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States and Central Asian countries. This represents a dramatic increase of about 19%, with only 6,970 FSU immigrants in the previous year.
North American aliyah reached about 4,070 as opposed to 3,720 the year before (an increase of 9%) and immigration from France rose to approximately 2,100 from 2,000 last year (an increase of 4%). From Latin America, 1,380 immigrants were absorbed in Israel compared to about 1,360 in 5770.
Over the past year, Israel has welcomed small numbers of immigrants from unexpected countries, including Hong Kong, Honduras, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Monaco, Suriname, China, the Philippines, Thailand, Angola, Japan, Malta, Congo, South Korea and Nicaragua.
Diaspora Jews’ affiliation with Israel has also been reflected in their visits to the country: tens of thousands of young Jews from communities around the world came for visits and tours in Israel in the framework of the Jewish Agency’s Israel experience programs and Birthright Israel. Of these, more than 10,000 students spent 10 months volunteering and studying in Israel as part of "Masa Israel Journey", an umbrella program framework of the Jewish Agency and the Israeli government.