Western Countries are 'New Frontier' for Aliyah

15 Tevet 5768, 24 December 07 02:03
by Gil Ronen

(IsraelNN.com) Official statistics show that 19,700 olim (new immigrants) came to Israel from over 100 countries in 2007.

One third (6,445) of the olim came from the former Soviet Union (FSU); 19% (3,607) from Ethiopia; 15% (2,957) from North America, 14% (2,659) from France; 8% from Central and South America and another 3% from Britain and other western European countries.

The last time such Aliyah (Jewish immigration to Israel) numbers were registered was in 1989, before the massive wave of immigration from the former Soviet Union.

The Jewish Agency brought to Israel some one million people from the FSU in the 1990's, an estimated one third of which are not Jewish.

"This is a good sign"
"The lowered numbers of Aliyah around the world are really a good sign, showing that Jews have emptied out of places like the former Soviet Union and the Arab countries," said Yishai Fleisher, a talk show host at Israel National Radio and co-founder of pro-Aliyah organization Kumah.

"We don't yearn to have high Aliyah numbers all of the time," Fleisher explained. "We yearn to bring the Jewish people home. The numbers are a clear sign that the next major frontier in Aliyah is North America and the western countries like England and France. That's where the next wave of Aliyah is going to come from."

Fleisher noted that according to Nefesh B'Nefesh statistics, Aliyah from western countries was up in 2007. "Western Aliyah is up and it will continue to rise because of the great fuel of Aliyah in England and France, anti-Semitism. Meanwhile, in North America, ideological and religious Aliyah is what we can expect, unless some unexpected anti-Semitic wave hits the region."

"Despite all of the unrest we are living through here, 200 more Jews are due to arrive in Israel from North America on Thursday morning," Fleisher said. "Jews are going to wake up and choose Israel as the center of the Jewish future."

Israel has recently become the largest single center of Jews in the world, and the greater Tel Aviv area is the largest Jewish concentration in the world.