Based on the current pace, the number of French Jews moving to Israel could top 7,000 this year, writes the European Jewish Press. So far this year 6,655 Jews arrived from France to Israel, an all-time record, compared with only 3,225 from North America (US and Canada).
France also set a record in 2013, with 3,293 French newcomers. Immigration in the first 11 months of 2014 from France, which has a Jewish community of 500,000-600,000 was more than double the 3,191 people who came to Israel during the whole of 2013 from North America, where over 6 million Jews live. The figure from North America for this year so far is 3,225.
Immigration from France also surpassed by a large margin the 5,105 migrants who came to Israel from Ukraine, a number attributed mostly to the ongoing and deadly fighting between government troops and pro-Russian rebels. Immigration to Israel from France is driven by growing anti-Semitism in the country and economic considerations, but also by French Jewry’s deep attachment to Israel, Zionism and Judaism, writes the European Jewish Press.
France is not the only western European country to see the aliyah numbers increase this year. An increase also was observed in Britain, where the first 11 months of 2014 yielded 573 immigrants compared to 523 during the whole of 2013. Immigration from Italy, which totaled 151 last year, doubled this year, with the economic crisis being seen as the main reason for the growing numbers. Aliyah from South Africa and Australia, which this year totaled 158 and 171 respectively, dropped by 23% and 36% from the 2013 totals.
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