10% Drop in Immigration to Israel Since Start of Last Jewish New Year

Following several years of steady, even rapid growth, immigration to Israel is down. The most pronounced downturn? In emigration from France and Ukraine.

Jewish new immigrants from North America, who are making Aliyah and who plan to join the Israeli army, walking down the stairs as their airplane lands at Ben Gurion airport, August 12, 2014.

Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption figures obtained by Haaretz show that in the Jewish year 5776, the number of immigrants moving to Israel dropped nearly 10 percent compared with the previous year. The downturn was most pronounced in emigration from France and Ukraine – two countries that in recent years have been major sources of aliyah.

The number of Jews moving to Israel from English-speaking countries – the United States, Canada, Britain and Australia – was also down across the board.

One prominent exception to the overall trend was Russia, which remains a key supplier of immigrants to Israel.

According to the figures, the total number of immigrants arriving in Israel since last Rosh Hashanah declined by 9.8 percent to 27,936. The drop is even more significant considering that 5776 was longer than most Jewish years, with a leap month added to it to sync it up with the sun cycle.

Of the total, 5,239 immigrants came from France (down 32 percent), 7,104 from Ukraine (down 13.1 percent), 3,010 from the United States (down 7.9 percent), 402 from Canada (down 9.9 percent), and 545 from Britain (down 26.6 percent).

On the other hand, the number of immigrants from Russia rose 15.6 percent to 7,154. Aliyah from Brazil was also up significantly: 654 Jews from Latin America’s largest country moved to Israel this past Jewish year – an increase of 73 percent.

In the previous Jewish year of 5775, total immigration to Israel had jumped 13 percent, and that followed an even more dramatic increase of 28 percent in 5774.

A report published this week by the Jewish People Policy Institute blamed the sharp drop in emigration from France on the absence of adequate employment opportunities in Israel. The report did not make reference to trends in other parts of the world.