Some 27, 000 immigrants arrived in Israel in 2016, according to estimates by The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, compared to the 31, 000 who arrived in 2015.
Aliyah (immigration to Israel) from Russia and Brazil rose significantly over the past year, while immigration from France and Ukraine dipped. The data released today is preliminary but offers solid indications of Aliyah trends for the past year.
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- Some 7, 000 immigrants arrived in Israel from Russia, which topped the Aliyah chart in 2016, compared to 6, 600 who arrived in 2015. Approximately 5, 500 immigrants arrived from Ukraine, compared to the 7, 221 who came last year.
- An estimated 5, 000 new immigrants came from France, compared to 7, 900 in 2015. According to Ariel Kandel, CEO of the Association ” Kelita” (the umbrella organization of French immigrants in Israel), “Employment is the main cause of a decline in the number of immigrants from France, and it is a major obstacle facing those who debated whether to come to Israel. Even today, many can not work in the country in the profession who acquired in France because Israel did not recognize their certification. Decision makers must remove bureaucratic procedures that prevent immigrants authorized to work in professions and to recognize immigrants’ employment licenses.”
- Aliyah from the United States hit 2, 900 immigrants, compared to 3, 070 last year. These four leading sources of Aliyah also led the list in 2015 and 2014, although 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. 620 immigrants arrived from Belarus (compared to 600 last year), 650 from the United Kingdom (775), and 272 from South Africa (236).
- Immigration to Israel has come to be characterized by youth: approximately 5, 150 of the new immigrants were 17 or under, 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 have professional backgrounds in industry, construction, and food services (some 5, 000 individuals in total), high tech and engineering (2, 400), the humanities and social sciences (1, 900), medical and paramedical fields (1, 150), and accounting and law (1, 080).
- 11% of the immigrants decided to make Tel Aviv their new home, while 10% moved to Jerusalem, 9% to Netanya, 8% to Haifa, 6% to Ashdod, 5% to Bat Yam, 4% to Ra’anana, 3% to Rishon LeZion, 3% to Be’er Sheva, and 3% to Ashkelon.
Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky said: “The high numbers of immigrants over the past two years were due, in part, to a series of external factors that have changed or disappeared, at least for the moment.”
“At the same time, ” he added, “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 fifteen 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 continue, “At the same time, 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, particularly recognition of professional and academic certifications.”
Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver said: “I wish us all that we will continue to place the immigrants at the center of our work, to ease their new lives in Israel by removing barriers, minimizing bureaucracy, and making information more accessible, and of course to continue encouraging immigration to Israel.”