“We see that the long-term trends continue and the number of immigrants to Israel, particularly from Western countries, remains high.” – Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky
Approximately 27,000 immigrants arrived in Israel in 2016, a slight drop from the record-breaking 31,000 who came in 2015, according to data compiled by the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption.
Aliyah (Jewish immigration to Israel) from Russia and Brazil rose significantly over the past year, while immigration from Franceand Ukraine decreased.
Some 7,000 arrived in Israel from Russia, which topped the Aliyah chart in 2016, compared to 6,600 who arrived in 2015. Approximately 5,500 immigrants came from Ukraine, compared to the 7,221 who came last year. The resolution of the civil war in the country may explain the drop in number.
An estimated 5,000 new immigrants came from France, compared to 7,900 in 2015.
The number of olim from the United States was 2,900, compared to 3,070 last year.
France—which led the chart in recent years—has slipped to third place.
Aliyah from Brazil increased significantly, with the arrival of some 760 new immigrants this year, compared to 497 in 2015. About 620 immigrants arrived from Belarus, compared to 600 last year, 650 from the United Kingdom, and 272 from South Africa – a rise from 2015’s 236 arrivals.
Approximately 5,150 new immigrants were 17 years of age or younger, 9,500 were between the ages of 18 and 35, 3,000 were between 36 and 45, 4,600 were between 46 and 65, and just over 3,000 were 66 or older.
Most of the new arrivals, some 5,000 individuals in total, have professional backgrounds in industry, construction and food services, while 2,400 are in high tech and engineering; 1,900, the humanities and social sciences; 1,150 from the medical and paramedical fields, and 1,800 in accounting and law.
Tel Aviv was the top choice for immigrants with 11 percent choosing to make their new home there, while 10 percent moved to Jerusalem, 9 percent to Netanya, 8 percent to Haifa, 6 percent to Ashdod, 5 percent to Bat Yam, 4 percent to Ra’anana, 3 percent to Rishon LeZion, 3 percent to Be’er Sheva and 3 percent to Ashkelon.
Seeking Lives of Meaning and Identity
Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky explained that the high number of immigrants over the past two years is due, in part, to a series of external factors, such as a surge in terrorism in France and the war in Ukraine.
“Despite the downward shift this year, we see that the long-term trends continue and the number of immigrants to Israel, particularly from Western countries, remains high, compared to the averages of the past 15 years. This is evidence of the fact that Israel continues to draw Jews from around the world seeking to live lives of meaning and identity,” Sharansky stated.
The numbers also indicate that the State of Israel must invest further efforts in finding solutions for the swift integration and absorption of the immigrants, with an emphasis on employment, he added.
Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver said that “work in the field of Aliyah and absorption is challenging and extensive, but I believe that when those who deal with Aliyah do so from the heart, with faith and vision, success is guaranteed.”
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