According to data compiled by The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, some 29,500 immigrants arrived in Israel in the Jewish year 5775, representing a 13% increase over the 26,000 who came in 5774.
Most of this year’s immigrants came from the former Soviet Union (some 14,100, compared to 10,800 last year) and Europe (more than 9,000, compared to 8,400 last year). Some 3.600 immigrants came to Israel from North America (similar to last year’s number) and 1,200 came from South America (a modest increase compared to last year).
The two largest sources of aliyah were France, with 7,350 immigrants compared to 6,700 in 5774 (a 10% increase), and Ukraine, with 6,900 immigrants compared to 4,600 last year (a 50% increase).
The Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption have been running programs in both countries in order to encourage aliyah and remove barriers to the immigrants’ integration in Israeli society. Aliyah from Russia also saw a significant 23% increase with the arrival of some 5,900 immigrants this year compared to 4,800 in 5774.
Also in Europe, some 690 immigrants arrived in Israel from the United Kingdom (a 13% increase when compared to the 612 who came last year), some 400 from Italy (a 30% increase, compared to 300 last year), and 290 from Belgium (similar to last year’s figure).
Immigrants to Israel came from 97 countries across the world. One immigrant each came from Andorra, Angola, Namibia, Paraguay, the Philippines, and Slovakia.
The Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel, Natan Sharansky, said: “For the past few years, the majority of immigrants to Israel have been coming from free and democratic Western countries. These immigrants’ free choice to live in Israel, and their preference for Israel over other countries, is the true triumph of Zionism.”
Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Ze’ev Elkin added: “These figures, which show a significant increase in the number of immigrants to Israel, reinforce the overall picture that the year 2015 will represent a year of record aliyah for more than a decade. We estimate that, at this rate, by the end of the civil year we will reach between 30,000 and 35,000 immigrants. This is a window of opportunity that the State of Israel cannot miss. Therefore, we at the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, the government, and Israeli society in general are faced with a fascinating and compelling challenge, to both ensure that immigrants who arrive in Israel are well integrated and do whatever we can to increase activities to encourage aliyah.”
Thousands of the new immigrants to Israel are young college graduates who came via specially created programs run by The Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption. Some 3,000 of the new immigrants work in engineering and technology, and more than 1,000 are doctors and other medical professionals. Some 70% of the new arrivals are under the age of 44, including some 7,800 who are 19 or younger and some 12,000 between the ages of 20 and 44.
As in previous years, the bulk of immigrants came during the summer, which saw the arrival of some 8,350 immigrants compared to the 7,160 who came last year (a 17% increase).
The three most popular destinations in Israel were Tel Aviv-Yafo, which welcomed some 3,500 new immigrants, the coastal city of Netanya with 3,400, and Jerusalem, which some 3,000 new immigrants made their home in 5775.