IMMIGRATION FROM NORTH AMERICA TO ISRAEL UP
Immigration to Israel from North America during the first quarter increased by more than 20 percent from a year earlier, according to data compiled by Nefesh B’Nefesh and the Jewish Agency, pointing to a busy year. The Jewish Agency compiled a report on immigration to Israel from all over the world, but it covers only January and February. It shows that aliyah in those months was 59 percent higher than in January and February of 2009. “The statistics are good,” said Jewish Agency spokesman Michael Jankelowitz. According to Maya Neiger, director of resource development for the Jewish Agency’s Aliyah and Absorption Department, the new [emigrants] would be “sitting down with all of Israel for their first Passover seder in their new homeland.”
Last year, some 3,800 Jews moved to Israel from North America – the most since 1983. North American immigration has steadily increased since 2001, when the number bottomed out at 1,650, according to the Jewish Agency.
“The early months of the year are not prime time for aliyah,” said Prof. Chaim Waxman, a sociologist who focuses on aliyah. “It’s the middle of the school year and many families find the summer and early fall more convenient. If we see an increase now, we can project some increase in the annual total.”