“Despite the challenging period and many limitations brought on by the global pandemic, since the beginning of the year, there’s been a significant increase in olim in comparison to a similar period last year,” said Yaakov Hagoel, acting chairman of the Jewish Agency.
By Josh Plank, World Israel News
Aliyah (immigration to Israel) is up 31% so far this year compared to the same period in 2020, according to data released Sunday by the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration and The Jewish Agency for Israel.
According to the report, 20,360 olim (immigrants) have arrived in Israel in 2021, while 15,598 olim arrived during the corresponding period last year.
The report comes just in time for Aliyah Day, which falls this year on October 13. The holiday was established in 2016 to recognize the importance of immigration to Israel.
“I am pleased by the tremendous increase in the number of olim who decided to make Aliyah to Israel since the beginning of the year,” said Pnina Tamano-Shata, Minister of Aliyah and Integration.
“I worked in the government to ensure Aliyah does not stop for a moment – also during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns – because Aliyah is the realization of the Zionist dream,” she said.
Yaakov Hagoel, acting chairman of the Jewish Agency, said, “Despite the challenging period and many limitations brought on by the global pandemic, since the beginning of the year, there’s been a significant increase in olim in comparison to a similar period last year.”
“These olim are a strategic asset to the State of Israel and contribute to every aspect of life. We all must contribute to their integration. We are strengthened by each oleh who comes to Israel,” he said.
Immigration from Ethiopia increased by a whopping 558%, from 285 immigrants in 2020 to 1,589 in 2021. The increase was largely due to Operation Tzur Israel under the leadership of Tamano-Shata, who is also an immigrant from Ethiopia.
Immigration from Russia was down 5% from last year, although still representing the largest group at 5,075 immigrants.
Immigration from the U.S. was up 41% over last year with 3,104 immigrants.
Close behind was France, up 55% at 2,819 immigrants, and Ukraine, up 4% at 2,123.
Despite the 31% increase over last year, the total immigration numbers for 2021 will likely fall far short of those for 2019, the last year before coronavirus regulations disrupted global travel.
In 2019, 34,000 new immigrants arrived in Israel, while only 20,000 arrived in 2020.