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Immigration to Israel Increases This Year But Slows From the West

According to the Jewish Agency For Israel (JAFI) report, immigration to Israel increased by 24 percent (compared to last year) for the first quarter of this year, but new arrivals from Western nations have declined.

More than 18,000 Jewish people from across the globe made Aliyah from January to March of 2023. Most of the olim (immigrants) were from Russia—75 percent—reportedly due to the increase in forced call-ups to the Russian military to fight in the war against Ukraine.

In the past years, France and the US have accounted for the majority of immigration from the West into Israel, especially as incidents of antisemitism increase in those nations. However, since January, only 391 new immigrants have moved to Israel from America, and only 178 French Jews have made Aliyah (a 66 percent decrease). South Africa and the UK also showed a decline in immigration to Israel.

Ukraine immigration has also slowed—after a record-breaking year in 2022.

Speculation as to why points to the rise in real estate prices in Israel and the jump overall in the cost of living has put a damper on moving to the Holy Land. Tel Aviv has been ranked as one of the most expensive cities in the world for the last two years. In addition, the shekel has declined in value, and civil unrest has also potentially contributed to the decline in Aliyah from the West.

“The aliyah process is not immediate by its nature, and therefore, current trends are reflected only after some time,” the Jewish Agency said.

Nefesh B’Nefesh (the agency in North America that helps with making Aliyah) said they think that immigration patterns are just returning to pre-pandemic levels.

“Aliyah continues throughout the months of the year, both from abroad and from those who have already arrived in Israel before, and therefore when trying to trace trends and changes, it is better to refer to the data for the entire year.”

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