Jewish immigration to Israel could hit 60,000 in 2020

Many Diaspora Jewish communities have become unstable due to the coronavirus.

By Aaron Sull, World Israel News

The number of new immigrants making Aliyah to Israel in 2020 is expected to be significantly higher than the 34,000 immigrants who moved to Israel last year, said Jewish Agency Director Josh Schwartz.

Speaking to the Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee on Wednesday, Schwartz said he expects the number to be at least double because, unlike Israel, many Diaspora Jewish communities have become unstable due to the coronavirus.

On Tuesday, a virtual roundtable was held over video conferencing software Zoom between the Jewish Agency, Diaspora Ministry and around 30 global Jewish organizations to discuss solutions for the Jewish communities who have become paralyzed due to the coronavirus.

According to data presented at the meeting, coronavirus fatalities among Jewish communities worldwide number in the thousands.

“I marvel at the conduct of Jewish communities during these troubled times and how they strive to share ideas, learn from mistakes and grow together,” Minister of Diaspora Affairs Omer Yankelevich said. “Their unified spirit is inspiring, as they establish a system to provide stable and permanent aid to those in need.”

“Together with worldwide Jewry, we will set up an active, strong forum to find practical solutions for all communities. Our office wants to work with all communities everywhere so that they will have a connection to Israel and Israel to them,” she added.

A recent poll conducted by Direct Research Institute Polls found that 67 percent of French Jews and 56 percent of English-speaking Jews believe the coronavirus pandemic will increase immigration to Israel.

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews reported in May a significant rise in Aliyah applications from U.S. states hit hard by the coronavirus.

Compared to last year, there has been a 50 percent increase of Aliyah applications in New York and a 46.5 percent increase in New Jersey, the report says.