Bucking a noticeable decrease in Jewish immigration to Israel in 2016, the number of Russian Jews who moved to the Jewish state has reached a ten-year record of 7,000 newcomers.
Overall, some 27,000 people moved to Israel last year under its Law of Return for Jews and their relatives, or made aliyah, according to the Jewish Agency for Israel, compared to 31,000 last year. This constitutes a 13 per cent drop in aliyah overall.
Aliyah from France, which in 2014 and 2015 was Israel’s largest single provider of immigrants with 6,658 and 7,468 newcomers respectively, decreased considerably, according to preliminary statistics provided by the Ministry for Immigrant Absorption and by the Jewish Agency.
During the first ten months of 2016, Israel saw the arrival of 4,214 French Jews and their relatives compared to 6,928 during the corresponding period in 2015, constituting a 39 per cent decrease over that period. In October this year, Israel saw 176 immigrants from France compared to 609 last year.
Aliyah from Ukraine totalled in at 5,500 this year compared to 7,221 in 2015, the Jewish Agency said in a statement on December 29 – a 24 per cent dip.
“In Russia there’s a serious increase from Moscow and St. Petersburg that we haven’t seen in the past, and that’s mainly businessmen, intelligentsia, people who are afraid to find themselves closed off from the free world,” Chairman of the Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky told JTA in 2015. That year, 6,716 Russian olim came – a tally that was the highest on record for at least a decade before it was surpassed this year, in which Russia replaced France as the single largest provider of