Immigration to Israel Is on the Rise Thanks to These 'non-Jews'

Two out of every three immigrants to Israel come from either Russia or Ukraine, but most aren't recognized as Jewish – which makes things like marrying, starting a family and getting buried a problem

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People waiting for their suitcases at Ben-Gurion International Airport.
People waiting for their suitcases at Ben-Gurion International Airport.Credit: Nir Keidar
Judy Maltz
Judy Maltz

Two countries have been responsible for a growing share of immigration to Israel in recent years: Russia and Ukraine.

Israel invests considerable resources in promoting and facilitating aliyah, and when immigration figures are up, it is widely seen as a measure of success of the Zionist project. Indeed, over the past decade, total aliyah has virtually doubled (from nearly 15,500 in 2008 to nearly 29,500 in 2018) – thanks in no small part to the growing number of new arrivals from these two countries.

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