Massive increase in French aliyah expected in 2016

Some 32,000 olim moved to Israel in 2015, double the number seen in recent years. From 2008 to 2013 the number of immigrants remained fairly stable between 13,000 and 17,000.Fears of increased terrorism abroad and rising anti-Semitism in Europe have fueled a significant uptick in Aliyah over the past few years. With high-profile attacks like the Brussels bombings and November 2015 Paris attacks, European immigration to Israel is likely to pick up even more.The most significant increases are expected from Western Europe, with a large wave of French Aliyah expected to dwarf 2015’s record of 7,500 immigrants.This comes despite a significant drop in the beginning of 2016 compared to last year.  Aliyah from France fell during the first two and a half months of 2016 by 38% compared to the same period in 2015. Aliyah from Belgium fell by 45%, while Italian Aliyah marked a 61% decline.Even before the Brussels bombings, however, Jewish Agency Director Yehuda Sharf downplayed the decline, predicting that immigration would top 33,000 in 2016, slightly more than in 2015.Avi Mayer, a spokesman for the Jewish Agency told Arutz Sheva why the apparent decline was a poor indicator of overall immigration levels for 2016.“The figures presented by the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption refer primarily to Aliyah from Western countries,” Mayer explained. “The bulk of Western Aliyah tends to take place during the summer months, as families make the move ahead of the new school year and young people do so following the completion of their high school or university studies.”“Aliyah figures from the first part of the year are therefore not considered indicative of overall trends and they tend to fluctuate from year to year, which is why it is our longstanding practice not to attempt to draw conclusions from those initial figures.”“[W]e suggest preliminary Aliyah figures be taken with a grain of salt.”


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