Corona pandemic expected to bring Israel quarter million new immigrants

Jewish Agency head Isaac Herzog says coronavirus pandemic is expected to push up to a quarter million Jews to make Aliyah in the coming years.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

The chairman of the Jewish Agency says the hypothesis that the coronavirus pandemic would result in higher immigration to Israel is turning into a fact, Makor Rishon reported Sunday.

“We are seeing a huge amount of inquiries, an increase of almost 40 percent since the beginning of the corona” pandemic, said Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog. The economic and social fallout from the pandemic is motivating more and more Diaspora Jews to seriously consider the possibility of immigration to Israel, and Herzog expects “about a quarter of a million immigrants to come to Israel in the next three to five years.”

After a steady figure of just under 17,000 people annually from 2010 to 2013 making Israeli their new home, Aliyah picked up to 24,00 in 2014 and has increased steadily every year since.

“Last year there were 35,000 Jewish immigrants here, and the expectation for the next few years is much higher,” Herzog said. “The opening of immigration files from France and Belgium have even increased 77 percent” and a 128 percent increase in inquiries from Australia.

According to Herzog most of those interested in immigration “intended to make Aliyah one day, and now it is happening because of corona. Israel is seen as a well-functioning country and has made wise decisions. In the end, we are standing up for the Diaspora Jews, while historically they have always been stabilizing for us. ”

Last month the Nefesh B’Nefesh organization that concentrates on promoting immigration from North America and some European countries reported an almost 300 percent increase in the number of requests to immigrate to Israel compared with the same period last year. The organization revealed last week that in the first three days of June alone, 338 households opened immigration files, compared to 561 who did so throughout the entire month of June last year.