Immigration to Israel

For the singer, see Aaliyah. For other uses, see Aliyah (disambiguation).

Aliyah (UK /ˌælɪˈɑː/, US /ˌɑːliˈɑː/; Hebrew: עֲלִיָּהaliyah, "ascent") is the immigration of Jews from the diaspora to the land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael). It is one of the most basic tenets of Zionist ideology. The opposite action, emigration from Israel, is referred to as yerida ("descent").[1] The return to the Holy Land has been the aspiration of many Jews since the Babylonian exile. Large-scale immigration to the land of Israel (Eretz Israel) began in 1882.[2] Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, more than 3 million Jews from over 90 countries have arrived in Israel.[3]

Etymology

Aliyah in Hebrew means "ascent" or "going up". Jewish tradition views traveling to the land of Israel as an ascent, both geographically and metaphysically. Anyone traveling to Eretz Israel from Egypt, Babylonia or the Mediterranean basin, where many Jews lived in early rabbinic times, climbed to a higher altitude. Visiting Jerusalem, situated 2,700 feet above sea level, also involved an "ascent".[4]

Religious, ideological and cultural concept

"Olim" redirects here. For other uses, see Olim (disambiguation).

Aliyah is an important Jewish cultural concept and a fundamental component of Zionism. It is enshrined in Israel's Law of Return, which accords any Jew (deemed as such by halakha and/or Israeli secular law) and eligible non-Jews (a child and a grandchild of a Jew, the spouse of a Jew, the spouse of a child of a Jew and the spouse of a grandchild of a Jew), the legal right to assisted immigration and settlement in Israel, as well as Israeli citizenship. Someone who "makes aliyah" is called an oleh (m. singular) or olah (f. singular); the plural for both is olim. Many religious Jews espouse aliyah as a return to the Promised land, and regard it as the fulfillment of God's biblical promise to the descendants of the Hebrew patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Aliyah is included as a commandment by some opinions on the enumeration of the 613 commandments.[5]

In Zionist discourse, the term aliyah (plural aliyot) includes both voluntary immigration for ideological, emotional, or practical reasons and, on the other hand, mass flight of persecuted populations of Jews. The vast majority of Israeli Jews today trace their family's recent roots to outside of the country. While many have actively chosen to settle in Israel rather than some other country, many had little or no choice about leaving their previous home countries. While Israel is commonly recognized as "a country of immigrants", it is also, in large measure, a country of refugees.

According to the traditional Jewish ordering of books of the Tanakh (Old Testament), the very last word of the last book in the original Hebrew (2 Chronicles 36:23) is veya‘al, a jussive verb form derived from the same root as aliyah, meaning "and let him go up" (to Jerusalem in Judah).[6]

2 Chronicles 36:23 (KJV) Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which [is] in Judah. Who [is there] among you of all his people? The LORD his God [be] with him, and let him go up.

Historical background

Return to the land of Israel is a recurring theme in Jewish prayers recited every day, three times a day, and holiday services on Passover and Yom Kippur traditionally conclude with the words "Next year in Jerusalem". Because Jewish lineage can provide a right to Israeli citizenship, aliyah (returning to Israel) has both a secular and a religious significance.

For generations of religious Jews, aliyah was associated with the coming of the Jewish Messiah. Jews prayed for their Messiah to come, who was to redeem the land of Israel from gentile rule and return world Jewry to the land under a Halachic theocracy.[7]

Pre-Zionist Aliyah

Main article: Pre-Zionist Aliyah

Biblical

The Hebrew Bible relates that the patriarch Abraham came to the Land of Canaan with his family and followers in approximately 1800 BC. His grandson Jacob went down to Egypt with his family, and after several centuries there, the Israelites went back to Canaan under Moses and Joshua, entering it in about 1300 BC.

A few decades after the fall of the Kingdom of Judah and the Babylonian exile of the Jewish people, approximately 50,000 Jews returned to Zion following the Cyrus Declaration from 538 BC. The Jewish priestly scribe Ezra led the Jewish exiles living in Babylon to their home city of Jerusalem in 459 BC. Others returned throughout the era of the Second Temple.

200–500 AD

In late antiquity, the two hubs of rabbinic learning were Babylonia and the land of Israel. Throughout the Amoraic period, many Babylonian Jews immigrated to the land of Israel and left their mark on life there, as rabbis and leaders.[8]

10th–11th century

In the 10th century, leaders of the Karaite Jewish community, mostly living under Persian rule, urged their followers to settle in Eretz Yisrael. The Karaites established their own quarter in Jerusalem, on the western slope of the Kidron Valley. During this period, there is abundant evidence of pilgrimages to Jerusalem by Jews from various countries, mainly in the month of Tishrei, around the time of the Sukkot holiday.[9]

1200–1882

The number of Jews migrating to the land of Israel rose significantly between the 13th and 19th centuries, mainly due to a general decline in the status of Jews across Europe and an increase in religious persecution. The expulsion of Jews from England (1290), France (1391), Austria (1421), and Spain (the Alhambra decree of 1492) were seen by many as a sign of approaching redemption and contributed greatly to the messianic spirit of the time.[10]

Aliyah was also spurred during this period by the resurgence of messianic fervor among the Jews of France, Italy, the Germanic states, Poland, Russia, and North Africa. The belief in the imminent coming of the Jewish Messiah, the ingathering of the exiles and the re-establishment of the kingdom of Israel encouraged many who had few other options to make the perilous journey to the land of Israel.

Pre-Zionist resettlement in Palestine met with various degrees of success. For example, little is known of the fate of the 1210 "aliyah of the three hundred rabbis" and their descendants. It is thought that few survived the bloody upheavals caused by the Crusader invasion in 1229 and their subsequent expulsion by the Muslims in 1291. After the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453 and the expulsion of Jews from Spain (1492) and Portugal (1498), many Jews made their way to the Holy Land. Then the immigration in the 18th and early 19th centuries of thousands of followers of various Kabbalist and Hassidic rabbis, as well as the disciples of the Vilna Gaon and the disciples of the Chattam Sofer, added considerably to the Jewish populations in Jerusalem, Tiberias, Hebron, and Safed.

The messianic dreams of the Gaon of Vilna inspired one of the largest pre-Zionist waves of immigration to Eretz Yisrael. In 1808 hundreds of the Gaon's disciples, known as Perushim, settled in Tiberias and Safed, and later formed the core of the Old Yishuv in Jerusalem.[11][12] This was part of a larger movement of thousands of Jews from countries as widely spaced as Persia and Morocco, Yemen and Russia, who moved to Israel beginning in the first decade of the nineteenth century—and in even larger numbers after the conquest of the region by Muhammad Ali of Egypt in 1832—all drawn by the expectation of the arrival of the Messiah in the Jewish year 5600, Christian year 1840, a movement documented in Arie Morgenstern's Hastening Redemption.

There were also those who like the British mystic Laurence Oliphant tried to lease Northern Palestine to settle the Jews there (1879).

Zionist Aliyah (1882 on)

Aliyah by numbers and by source

In Zionist history, the different waves of aliyah, beginning with the arrival of the Biluim from Russia in 1882, are categorized by date and the country of origin of the immigrants.

The first modern period of immigration to receive a number in common speech was the Third Aliya, which in the World War I period was referred to as the successor to the First and Second Aliyot from Babylonia in the Biblical period. Reference to earlier modern periods as the First and Second Aliyot appeared first in 1919 and took a while to catch on.[13]

First Aliyah (1882–1903)

Main article: First Aliyah

Between 1882 and 1903, approximately 35,000 Jews immigrated to the southwestern area of Syria, then a province of the Ottoman Empire. The majority, belonging to the Hovevei Zion and Bilu movements, came from the Russian Empire with a smaller number arriving from Yemen. Many established agricultural communities. Among the towns that these individuals established are Petah Tikva (already in 1878), Rishon LeZion, Rosh Pina, and Zikhron Ya'aqov. In 1882 the Yemenite Jews settled in an Arab suburb of Jerusalem called Silwan located south-east of the walls of the Old City on the slopes of the Mount of Olives.[14]

Second Aliyah (1904–1914)

Main article: Second Aliyah

Between 1904 and 1914, 40,000 Jews immigrated mainly from Russia to southwestern Syria following pogroms and outbreaks of anti-Semitism in that country. This group, greatly influenced by socialist ideals, established the first kibbutz, Degania Alef, in 1909 and formed self-defense organizations, such as Hashomer, to counter increasing Arab hostility and to help Jews to protect their communities from Arab marauders.[15] The suburb of Jaffa, Ahuzat Bayit, established at this time, grew into the city of Tel Aviv. During this period, some of the underpinnings of an independent nation-state arose: The national language Hebrew was revived; newspapers and literature written in Hebrew published; political parties and workers organizations were established. The First World War effectively ended the period of the Second Aliyah.

Third Aliyah (1919–1923)

Main article: Third Aliyah

Between 1919 and 1923, 40,000 Jews, mainly from the Russian Empire arrived in the wake of World War I and the British mandate of Palestine; the establishment of the Mandate, and the Balfour Declaration. Many of these were pioneers, known as halutzim, trained in agriculture and capable of establishing self-sustaining economies. In spite of immigration quotas established by the British administration, the population of Jews reached 90,000 by the end of this period. The Jezreel Valley and the Hefer Plain marshes were drained and converted to agricultural use. Additional national institutions arose: The Histadrut (General Labor Federation); an elected assembly; national council; and the Haganah, the forerunner of the Israel Defense Forces.

Fourth Aliyah (1924–1929)

Main article: Fourth Aliyah

Between 1924 and 1929, 82,000 Jews arrived, many as a result of anti-Semitism in Poland and Hungary. The immigration quotas of the United States kept Jews out. This group contained many middle-class families that moved to the growing towns, establishing small businesses, and light industry. Of these approximately 23,000 left the country.[16]

Fifth Aliyah (1929–1939)

Main article: Fifth Aliyah

Between 1929 and 1939, with the rise of Nazism in Germany, a new wave of 250,000 immigrants arrived; the majority of these, 174,000, arrived between 1933 and 1936, after which increasing restrictions on immigration by the British made immigration clandestine and illegal, called Aliyah Bet. The Fifth Aliyah was again driven mostly from Eastern Europe as well as professionals, doctors, lawyers, and professors, from Germany. Refugee artists introduced Bauhaus (the White City of Tel Aviv has the highest concentration of Bauhaus architecture in the world) and founded the Palestine Philharmonic Orchestra. With the completion of the port at Haifa and its oil refineries, significant industry was added to the predominantly agricultural economy. The Jewish population reached 450,000 by 1940.

At the same time, tensions between Arabs and Jews grew during this period, leading to a series of Arab riots against the Jews in 1929 that left many dead and resulted in the depopulation of the Jewish community in Hebron. This was followed by more violence during the "Great Uprising" of 1936–1939. In response to the ever increasing tension between the Arabic and Jewish communities married with the various commitments the British faced at the dawn of World War II, the British issued the White Paper of 1939, which severely restricted Jewish immigration to 75,000 people for five years. This served to create a relatively peaceful eight years in Palestine while, tragically, the Holocaust unfolded in Europe.

Shortly after their rise to power, the Nazis negotiated the Ha'avara or "Transfer" Agreement with the Jewish Agency under which 50,000 German Jews and $100 million of their assets would be moved to Palestine.[17]

Aliyah Bet: Illegal immigration (1933–1948)

Main article: Aliyah Bet

The British government limited Jewish immigration to Palestine with quotas, and following the rise of Nazism to power in Germany, illegal immigration to Palestine commenced.[18] The illegal immigration was known as Aliyah Bet ("secondary immigration"), or Ha'apalah, and was organized by the Mossad Le'aliyah Bet, as well as by the Irgun. Immigration was done mainly by sea, and to a lesser extent overland through Iraq and Syria. During World War II and the years that followed until independence, Aliyah Bet became the main form of Jewish immigration to Palestine.

Following the war, Berihah ("flight"), an organization of former partisans and ghetto fighters was primarily responsible for smuggling Jews from Poland and Eastern Europe to the Italian ports from which they traveled to Palestine. Despite British efforts to curb the illegal immigration, during the 14 years of its operation, 110,000 Jews immigrated to Palestine. In 1945 reports of the Holocaust with its 6 million Jewish dead, caused many Jews in Palestine to turn openly against the British Mandate, and illegal immigration escalated rapidly as many Holocaust survivors joined the Aliyah.

Early statehood (1948–1950)

Main article: Bricha

After Aliyah Bet, the process of numbering or naming individual aliyot ceased, but immigration did not. A major wave of Jewish immigration took place from Europe the Arab and Muslim world, starting in 1948 and lasting well into the 1950s. In three and a half years, the Jewish population of Israel doubled, inflated by nearly 700,000 immigrants (300,000 of them from the Arab and Muslim world and the rest from Europe). In 1949, the largest-ever number of olim in a single year - 249,954 - arrived in Israel.[3] This period of immigration is often termed kibbutz galuyot (literally, ingathering of exiles), due to the large number of Jewish diaspora communities that made aliyah. However, kibbutz galuyot can also refer to aliyah in general.

This resulted in a period of austerity. To ensure that Israel, which at that time had a small economy and scant foreign currency reserves, could provide for the immigrants, a strict regime of rationing was put in place. Measures were enacted to ensure that all Israeli citizens had access to adequate food, housing, and clothing. Austerity was very restrictive until 1953; the previous year, Israel had signed a reparations agreement with West Germany, in which the West German government would pay Israel as compensation for the Holocaust, due to Israel's taking in a large number of Holocaust survivors. The resulting influx of foreign capital boosted the Israeli economy and allowed for the relaxing of most restrictions. The remaining austerity measures were gradually phased out throughout the following years.

When new immigrants arrived in Israel, they were sprayed with DDT, underwent a medical examination, were inoculated against diseases, and were given food. They were then sent to temporary camps, known initially as immigrant camps, and later as Ma'abarot. Many were also initially housed in reception centers in wooden barracks. The Israeli government's goal was to get the immigrants out of refugee housing and into society as speedily as possible. Immigrants that left the camps received a ration card, an identity card, a mattress, a pair of blankets, and $21 to $36 in cash. They settled either in established cities and towns, or in kibbutzim and moshavim.[19] Many others stayed in the Ma'abarot as they were gradually turned into permanent cities and towns, which became known as development towns, or were absorbed as neighborhoods of the towns they were attached to, and the tin dwellings were replaced with permanent housing.

Since the founding of the State of Israel, the Jewish Agency for Israel was mandated as the organization responsible for aliyah in the diaspora.[20]

Aliyah from Arab countries

From 1948 until the early 1970s, around 900,000 Jews from Arab lands left, fled, or were expelled from various Arab nations.[21][22][23][24] In the course of Operation Magic Carpet (1949–1950), nearly the entire community of Yemenite Jews (about 49,000) immigrated to Israel. Its other name, Operation On Wings of Eagles (Hebrew: כנפי נשרים, Kanfei Nesharim), was inspired by

Exodus 19:4 - Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself.[25] and
Isaiah 40:31 - But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.[26] Some 120,000 Iraqi Jews were airlifted to Israel in Operation Ezra and Nehemiah.

Aliyah from Iran

Following the establishment of Israel, about one-third of Iranian Jews, most of them poor, immigrated to Israel. Following the Islamic Revolution in 1979, most of the Iranian Jewish community left, with some 30,000 Iranian Jews immigrating to Israel. Many Iranian Jews also settled in the United States (especially in New York City and Los Angeles).[27]

Aliyah from Ethiopia

Main article: Aliyah from Ethiopia

The first major wave of aliyah from Ethiopia took place in the mid-1970s. The massive airlift known as Operation Moses began to bring Ethiopian Jews to Israel on November 18, 1984, and ended on January 5, 1985. During those six weeks, some 6,500–8,000 Ethiopian Jews were flown from Sudan to Israel. An estimated 2,000–4,000 Jews died en route to Sudan or in Sudanese refugee camps. In 1991 Operation Solomon was launched to bring the Beta Israel Jews of Ethiopia. In one day, May 24, 34 aircraft landed at Addis Ababa and brought 14,325 Jews from Ethiopia to Israel. Since that time, Ethiopian Jews have continued to immigrate to Israel bringing the number of Ethiopian-Israelis today to over 100,000.

Aliyah from the Soviet Union and post-Soviet states

Main articles: Russian immigration to Israel in the 1970s, Russian immigration to Israel in the 1990s and Jackson–Vanik amendment

A mass emigration was politically undesirable for the Soviet regime. The only acceptable ground was family reunification, and a formal petition ("вызов", vyzov) from a relative from abroad was required for the processing to begin. Often, the result was a formal refusal. The risks to apply for an exit visa compounded because the entire family had to quit their jobs, which in turn would make them vulnerable to charges of social parasitism, a criminal offense. Because of these hardships, Israel set up the group Lishkat Hakesher in the early 1950s to maintain contact and promote aliyah with Jews behind the Iron Curtain.

From Israel's establishment in 1948 to the Six-Day War in 1967, Soviet aliyah remained minimal. Those who made aliyah during this period were mainly elderly people granted clearance to leave for family reunification purposes. Only about 22,000 Soviet Jews managed to reach Israel. In the wake of the Six-Day War, the USSR broke off the diplomatic relations with the Jewish state. An Anti-Zionist propaganda campaign in the state-controlled mass media and the rise of Zionology were accompanied by harsher discrimination of the Soviet Jews. By the end of 1960s, Jewish cultural and religious life in the Soviet Union had become practically impossible, and the majority of Soviet Jews were assimilated and non-religious, but this new wave of state-sponsored anti-Semitism on one hand, and the sense of pride for victorious Jewish nation over Soviet-armed Arab armies on the other, stirred up Zionist feelings.

After the Dymshits-Kuznetsov hijacking affair and the crackdown that followed, strong international condemnations caused the Soviet authorities to increase the emigration quota. In the years 1960–1970, the USSR let only 4,000 people leave; in the following decade, the number rose to 250,000.[29] The exodus of Soviet Jews began in 1968.[30]

Year Exit visas
to Israel
Olim from
the USSR[29]
1968 231 231
1969 3,033 3,033
1970 999 999
1971 12,897 12,893
1972 31,903 31,652
1973 34,733 33,277
1974 20,767 16,888
1975 13,363 8,435
1976 14,254 7,250
1977 16,833 8,350
1978 28,956 12,090
1979 51,331 17,278
1980 21,648 7,570
1981 9,448 1,762
1982 2,692 731
1983 1,314 861
1984 896 340
1985 1,140 348
1986 904 201

Between 1968 and 1973, almost all Soviet Jews allowed to leave settled in Israel, and only a small minority moved to other Western countries. However, in the following years, the number of those moving to other Western nations increased.[30] Soviet Jews granted permission to leave were taken by train to Austria to be processed and then flown to Israel. There, the ones who chose not to go to Israel, called "dropouts", exchanged their immigrant invitations to Israel for refugee status in a Western country, especially the United States. Eventually, most Soviet Jews granted permission to leave became dropouts. In 1989 a record 71,000 Soviet Jews were granted exodus from the USSR, of whom only 12,117 immigrated to Israel.

According to Israeli Immigrant Absorption Minister Yaakov Zur, over half of Soviet Jewish dropouts who immigrated to the United States assimilated and ceased to live as Jews within a short period of time.[31]

Israel was concerned over the dropout rate, and suggested that Soviet emigres be flown directly to Israel from the Soviet Union or Romania. Israel argued that it needed highly skilled and well-educated Soviet Jewish immigrants for its survival. In addition to contributing to the country's economic development, Soviet immigration was also seen as a counterweight to the high fertility rate among Israeli-Arabs.[30] In addition, Israel was concerned that the dropout rate could result in immigration being banned once again. The Ministry of Immigrant Absorption's position was that "it could jeopardize the whole program if Jews supposedly going to Israel all wind up in Brooklyn and Los Angeles. How will the Soviets explain to their own people that it's just Jews who are allowed to emigrate to the U.S.?"[31]

In 1989 the United States changed its immigration policy of unconditionally granting Soviet Jews refugee status. That same year, Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev ended restrictions on Jewish immigration, and the Soviet Union itself collapsed in 1991. Since then, about a million Russians immigrated to Israel,[32] including approximately 240,000 who were not Jewish according to rabbinical law, but were eligible for Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return.

The number of non-Jews among the immigrants from the former USSR has been constantly rising ever since 1989. For example, in 1990 around 96% of the immigrants were Jews and only 4% were non-Jewish family members. However in 2000, the proportion was: Jews (includes children from non-Jewish father and Jewish mother) - 47%, Non-Jewish spouses of Jews - 14%, children from Jewish father and non-Jewish mother - 17%, Non-Jewish spouses of children from Jewish father and non-Jewish mother - 6%, non-Jews with a Jewish grandparent - 14% & Non-Jewish spouses of non-Jews with a Jewish grandparent - 2%.[33]

Aliyah from Latin America

In the 1999–2002 Argentine political and economic crisis that caused a run on the banks, wiped out billions of dollars in deposits and decimated Argentina's middle class, most of the country's estimated 200,000 Jews were directly affected. Some 4,400 chose to start over and move to Israel, where they saw opportunity.

More than 10,000 Argentine Jews immigrated to Israel since 2000, joining the thousands of previous olim already there. The crisis in Argentina also affected its neighbour country Uruguay, from which about half of its 40,000-strong Jewish community left, mainly to Israel, in the same period. During 2002 and 2003 the Jewish Agency for Israel launched an intensive public campaign to promote aliyah from the region, and offered additional economic aid for immigrants from Argentina. Although the economy of Argentina improved, and some Argentine olim returned to Argentina following the country's economic growth from 2003 onwards, Argentine Jews continue to immigrate to Israel, albeit in smaller numbers than before.

There has also been aliyah from other Latin American countries that have experienced crises, though they have come in smaller numbers and are not eligible for the same economic benefits as Argentine olim.

In Venezuela, growing antisemitism in the country, including antisemitic violence, caused an increasing number of Jews to make aliyah during the 2000s. For the first time in Venezuelan history, Jews began leaving for Israel in the hundreds. By November 2010, more than half of Venezuela's 20,000-strong Jewish community had left the country.[34][35]

Aliyah from France

From 2000 to 2009, more than 13,000 French Jews made aliyah, largely as a result of growing anti-semitism in the country. A peak was reached in 2005, with 2,951 olim. However, between 20-30% eventually returned to France.[36] With the start of the Second Intifada in Israel, anti-Semitic incidents became more frequent in France. In 2002, the Commission nationale consultative des droits de l'homme (Human Rights Commission) reported six times more anti-Semitic incidents than in 2001 (193 incidents in 2002). The commission's statistics showed that anti-Semitic acts constituted 62% of recorded racist acts in the country (compared to 45% in 2001 and 80% in 2000). The report documented 313 violent acts against people or property, including 38 injuries and the torture-murder of French Jew Ilan Halimi. Since 2005, the number of acts dropped but is still at a significantly higher level than during the previous decade.[37] Anti-Semitic incidents rose again during the Gaza War. After the election of Nicolas Sarkozy, French aliyah dropped due to the Jewish community's comfort with him. In 2010 only 1,286 French Jews made aliyah.[38] In 2012, following the election of François Hollande and the Jewish school shooting in Toulouse, as well as ongoing acts of anti-semitism and the European economic crisis, an increasing number of French Jews began buying property in Israel.[39] In August 2012, it was reported that anti-semitic attacks had risen by 40% in the five months following the Toulouse shooting, and that many French Jews were seriously considering immigrating to Israel.[40]

As of 2012, some 200,000 French citizens live in Israel.[41]

Aliyah from North America

Approximately 110,000 North American immigrants live in Israel. There has been a steady flow of olim from North America since Israel’s inception in 1948.

Several thousand American Jews moved to Palestine before the State of Israel was established. From Israel's establishment in 1948 to the Six-Day War in 1967, aliyah from the United States and Canada was minimal. In the 1950s, 6,000 North American Jews arrived in Israel, of whom all but 1,000 returned.

Record numbers arrived in the late 1960s after the Six-Day War, and in the 1970s. Between 1967 and 1973, 60,000 North American Jews immigrated to Israel. However, many of them later returned to their original countries.[42][43]

Like Western European olim, North Americans tend to immigrate to Israel more for religious, ideological, and political purposes, and not financial or security ones.[44] Many immigrants began arriving in Israel after the First and Second Intifada, with a total of 3,052 arriving in 2005 — the highest number since 1983.[45]

Nefesh B'Nefesh, founded in 2002 by Rabbi Yehoshua Fass and Tony Gelbart, works to encourage Aliyah from North America and the UK by providing financial assistance, employment services and streamlined governmental procedures. Nefesh B’Nefesh works in cooperation with the Jewish Agency and the Israeli Government in increasing the numbers of North American and British olim.

Following the Global Financial Crisis in the late 2000s, American Jewish immigration to Israel rose. This wave of immigration was triggered by Israel's lower unemployment rate, combined with financial incentives offered to new Jewish immigrants. In 2009, aliyah was at its highest in 36 years, with 3,324 North American Jews making aliyah.[46]

Since the 1990s

Since the mid-1990s, there has been a steady stream of South African Jews, American Jews, and French Jews who have either made aliyah, or purchased property in Israel for potential future immigration. Specifically, many French Jews have purchased homes in Israel as insurance due to the rising rate of anti-Semitism in France in recent years.[47][48] The Bnei Menashe Jews from India, whose recent discovery and recognition by mainstream Judaism as descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes is subject to some controversy, slowly started their Aliyah in the early 1990s and continue arriving in slow numbers.[49] Organizations such as Nefesh B'Nefesh and Shavei Israel help with aliyah by supporting financial aid and guidance on a variety of topics such as finding work, learning Hebrew, and assimilation into Israeli culture.

In early 2007 Haaretz reported that aliyah for the year of 2006 was down approximately 9% from 2005, "the lowest number of immigrants recorded since 1988".[50] The number of new immigrants in 2007 was 18,127, the lowest since 1988. Only 36% of these new immigrants came from the former Soviet Union (close to 90% in the 1990s) while the number of immigrants from countries like France and the United States is stable.[51] Some 15,452 immigrants arrived in Israel in 2008 and 16,465 in 2009.[52] Shalom Life reported that over 19,000 new immigrants arrived in Israel in 2010, an increase of 16 percent over 2009.[53]

Statistics

The number of immigrants since 1882 by period, continent of birth, and country of birth is given in the table below. Continent of birth and country of birth data is almost always unavailable or nonexistent for before 1919.[38][54]

Region/Country 1882–
1918
1919–
1948
1948–
1951
1952–
1960
1961–
1971
1972–
1979
1980–
1989
1990–
1999
2002–
2010
2011–
2012
Total
Africa 4,033 93,282 143,485 164,885 19,273 28,664 55,619 31,558 6,117 542,583
Algeria 994 3,810 3,433 12,857 2,137 1,830 1,682 1,967 167 28,877
Egypt and Sudan 0 16,028 17,521 2,963 535 372 202 166 14 37,801
Ethiopia, Eritrea and Abyssinia 0 10 59 98 306 16,965 45,126 23,613 2,432 88,609
Libya 873 30,972 2,079 2,466 219 67 94 36 5 36,811
Morocco 0 28,263 95,945 130,507 7,780 3,809 3,276 2,113 238 271,931
South Africa 259 666 774 3,783 5,604 3,575 3,283 1,693 327 19,964
Tunisia 0 13,293 23,569 11,566 2,148 1,942 1,607 1,871 250 56,246
Zimbabwe 0 37 22 145 393 82 26 14 N/A 719
Other (Africa) 1,907 203 83 500 148 16 318 85 18 2,701
Americas and Oceania 7,579 3,822 6,922 42,400 45,040 39,369 39,662 36,209 6,591 220,014
Argentina 238 904 2,888 11,701 13,158 10,582 11,248 9,450 442 60,367
Australia 0 116 107 742 1,146 835 977 524 100 4,547
Bolivia 0 0 0 199 94 80 53 84 510
Brazil 0 304 763 2,601 1,763 1,763 2,356 2,037 323 12,067
Canada 316 236 276 2,169 2,178 1,867 1,963 1,700 437 11,316
Central America (other countries which are not specifically mentioned here) 0 17 43 129 104 8 153 157 611
Chile 0 48 401 1,790 1,180 1,040 683 589 81 5,812
Colombia 0 0 0 415 552 475 657 965 135 3,199
Cuba 0 14 88 405 79 42 629 606 1,863
Ecuador 0 0 0 40 38 44 67 69 258
Mexico 0 48 168 736 861 993 1,049 697 146 4,698
New Zealand 70 0 13 91 129 124 142 42 23 611
Panama 0 0 0 64 43 48 50 40 245
Peru 0 0 0 269 243 358 612 1,539 3,021
South America (other countries which are not specifically mentioned here) 0 42 194 89 62 0 66 96 549
United States 2,000[55] 6,635 1,711 1,553 18,671 20,963 18,904 17,512 15,445 4,291 105,685
Uruguay 0 66 425 1,844 2,199 2,014 983 1,555 114 9,200
Venezuela 0 0 0 297 245 180 418 602 90 1,832
Other (Americas/Oceania) 318 313 0 148 3 8 44 12 1,084
Asia 40,776 237,704 37,119 56,208 19,456 14,433 75,687 17,300 2,968 466,552
Afghanistan 0 2,303 1,106 516 132 57 21 13 3 4,151
Burma 0 0 0 147 83 383 138 33 784
China 0 504 217 96 43 78 277 74 16 1,289
Cyprus 0 21 35 28 21 12 32 0 149
India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka 0 2,176 5,380 13,110 3,497 1,539 2,055 961 76 28,794
Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines 0 101 46 54 40 60 205 42 548
Iran 3,536 21,910 15,699 19,502 9,550 8,487 4,326 1,097 97 84,259
Iraq 0 123,371 2,989 3,509 939 111 1,325 130 0 132,374
Israel 411 868 1,021 507 288 1,148 1,448 201 5,892
Japan 0 0 9 25 34 57 98 32 255
Jordan 0 6 9 23 6 9 15 0 0 68
Lebanon 0 235 846 2,208 564 179 96 34 5 4,167
Mongolia, South Korea, and North Korea 0 0 0 4 5 10 100 36 155
Saudi Arabia 0 177 0 4 0 5 0 0 0 186
Soviet Union (Asia)[a] 61,988 12,422 1,275 75,682
Thereof: Uzbekistan 15,973 8,817 408 25,198
Thereof: Georgia 7,609 3,766 276 11,651
Syria 10,292[56] 2,678 1,870 3,121 842 995 1,664 23 0 21,482
Turkey 8,277 34,547 6,871 14,073 3,118 2,088 1,311 817 170 71,272
Yemen 2,600[57] 15,838 48,315 1,170 1,066 51 17 683 103 42 69,912
Other (Asia) 13,135 1,254 103 349 213 594 7,362 228 37 23,275
Europe 377,487 332,802 106,305 162,070 183,419 70,898 888,603 96,165 18,929 2,246,235
Albania 0 0 5 8 0 0 376 0 0 389
Austria 7,748 2,632 610 1,021 595 356 368 150 33 13,513
Belgium 0 291 394 1,112 847 788 1,053 873 277 5,635
Bulgaria 7,057 37,260 1,680 794 118 180 3,999 341 50 51,479
Czechoslovakia 16,794 18,788 783 2,754 888 462 527 217 33 41,246
France 1,637 3,378 2,286 20,162 12,148 12,827 16,536 18,207 3,272 80,618
Germany 52,951 8,210 1,386 3,175 2,080 1,759 2,442 866 175 73,044
Greece 8,767 2,131 676 514 326 147 127 48 16 12,752
Hungary 10,342 14,324 9,819 2,601 1,100 1,005 2,444 730 244 42,609
Ireland 0 14 46 145 157 233 136 54 785
Italy 1,554 1,305 414 940 713 510 656 389 224 6,675
Luxembourg 0 30 15 15 7 12 0 4 83
Netherlands 1,208 1,077 646 1,470 1,170 1,239 997 365 83 8,255
Poland 170,127 106,414 39,618 14,706 6,218 2,807 3,064 764 72 343,790
Portugal 0 16 22 66 56 55 47 28 290
Romania 41,105 117,950 32,462 86,184 18,418 14,607 6,254 711 107 299,614
Soviet Union (Europe) 47,500[58][b] 52,350 8,163 13,743 29,376 137,134 29,754 844,139 72,520 14,459 1,249,138
Thereof:Russia 91,756 50,441 4,455 146,652
Thereof: Ukraine 114,406 50,061 2,719 167,776
Spain 0 80 169 406 327 321 269 178 113 1,863
Scandinavia 0 85 131 886 903 1,178 1,145 297 72 4,677
Denmark 0 27 46 298 292 411 389 85 1,548
Finland 0 9 20 172 184 222 212 33 '852
Norway 0 17 14 36 55 126 120 19 387
Sweden 0 32 51 378 372 419 424 160 1,836
Switzerland 0 131 253 886 634 706 981 585 130 4,306
United Kingdom 1,574 1,907 1,448 6,461 6,171 7,098 5,365 3,725 1,054 34,857
Yugoslavia 1,944 7,661 320 322 126 140 2,029 162 20 12,724
Other (Europe) 2,329 1,343 91 412 252 303 785 50 40 5,605
Not known 42,690 20,014 3,307 911 394 469 422 0 68,207
Total 62,500[59][c] 493,149 687,624 297,138 427,828 267,580 153,833 1,059,993 181,233 33,451 3,630,878
  • a^ Before 1995, the aliyah from the Asian parts of the former Soviet Union were counted in the total of the aliyah from the European part of the former Soviet Union.
  • b^ This number is an average of two different estimates from page 93 of this book.
  • c^ This number is an average of two different estimates.

See also

References

Further reading

External links

  • Jewish Virtual Library
  • Making Aliyah at the Israel Government Portal
  • Ministry of Immigrant Absorption
  • Jewish Agency for Israel
  • Nefesh B'Nefesh, organization for Aliyah from North America and UK
  • Aliyah to Israel at Israel Science and Technology Homepage
  • Anglo-List.com – Israel lifestyle, Aliyah & business directory
  • Aliyah Pages – information, photographs, links
  • DMOZ
yi:עליה
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